“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was a political figure in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. He later became an elected president and was also a philanthropist. He was committed to non-violent protest; but, there came a point in his earlier years when he led a sabotage campaign against the government. He was arrested, tried, and sentenced to life in prison for his actions.
In prison, his views continued to be published and he directed many followers to work for the sake of eliminating the devastating effects of apartheid. Eventually, he was released from prison and it was at that point that he had to decide what direction his life would take. He knew that it could easily go one of two ways. He could decide to allow the bitterness and hatred that had welled up within to destroy him and all for which he stood or he could let go of the bitterness and hatred and attempt to live as a man of peace.
While he was a controversial figure throughout his life, it was evident to many that he had embraced a life that would be free of bitterness and hatred. He was eventually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in addressing the social ills of his time.
Bitterness and hatred get us nowhere. It never has and it never will. Bitterness and hatred immediately place blinders on us and we become unable to see the good that is around us and even within us. If we allow bitterness and hatred to lead us, we will not be able to follow Jesus Christ for, in following the Lord, there is no room for that. In following the Lord, we must embrace virtue and love and reject all that can take us away from Him.
When times are rough, crazy, and unpredictable, it is easy to become selfish and bitter. Hatred wells up in our hearts quicker than it should. I think that is all pretty evident at this present time. In the midst of the pandemic, there has been a social unrest that has come over so many people. Hatred has swelled what some call “protests” but others would more accurately define as riots. The hatred and bitterness has spilled over into violent acts against person and/or property.
We cannot find the Lord when engaged in such actions. Such acts are antithetical to Jesus and His Kingdom. Set bitterness and hatred aside and embrace the virtues and values of Christ.
FAITH ACTION: Do not allow anger, disappointment, hatred, or bitterness to lead your steps today. Instead, ask God to replace those with the peace that only He can give.