I admire that Mandela was a person who lived his convictions. He was born to the Thembu royal family. He lived in Johannesburg in the Soweto township. His activities against the South African white minority rule and racial segregation led to 27 years imprisonment.
"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," Mandela said after he was freed.
Four years after his release, Nelson Mandela became the first black president in South Africa.
In many ways, Mandela reminds me of the apostle Paul of the Bible. Imprisoned for his message of a new kingdom, Paul was relentless in his faith and chose forgiveness instead of bitterness.
Paul penned these words:
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
May the lives of Paul and Nelson Mandela inspire you to live out your convictions with courage and grace.