Monday, December 9th, 2013
These quotes are from the late Nelson Mandela:
- “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”
- “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
The statements of wisdom above are contrasted with the ones below:
- “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”
- “Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro.”
Obviously, the former President of South Africa was a man of contradictions. The press almost universally portrays him as a man “for the ages,” almost god-like in his compassion and leadership. No question, he was a great statesman who could have fomented a violent revolution but instead chose peace and reconciliation. In death, most journalists have chosen to remember the more erudite of his views. But at one time he espoused bloodshed if necessary to abolish apartheid. I have been to South Africa many times, including the era before Mandela’s release from the Robben Island Prison. A statement oft quoted in the South African press when he was behind bars, and underscored by white Afrikaners, was Mandela’s threat that if ever released from prison who would commit an act of terrorist violence within 24 hours. He didn’t. Instead he reached out to his white supremacist oppressors to ensure a stable transition. Did he still harbor communist style rhetoric in his heart? Or was he strategically placating the more extreme factions of the ANC party that had vowed to overthrow the De Klerk government? We’ll likely never know. But such duplicity as evidenced by the above quotes isn’t an option for true Christians. In Matthew 5:37 Christ warned, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Christians can’t play politics. We have to mean what we say and say what we mean!
An encouraging word: BE CONSISTENT
This past week millions of Americans suffered through horrendous storms of snow and ice. In some cities, the temperature dropped 50+ degrees from one day to the next. Such extremes of climate conditions are to be expected. Not so the extremes of our own behavior. The Living Bible says this in 2 Timothy 4:2 – Preach the Word of God urgently at all times, whenever you get the chance, in season and out, when it is convenient and when it is not. Our declaration of God’s truths can’t be like the weather, hot one day and cold the next. We must be consistent with proclaiming God’s Word.