Friday, December 6, 2013
For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. Amos 5:12 (NLT)
Nelson Mandela was a trouble-maker! He stirred the waters of unrest and righteousness for those who would keep the status quo on apartheid. Fox News carried the following in memorializing the first black president of South Africa:
Stamps were issued with his likeness, songs written about him, statues erected in his honor everywhere from Johannesburg to London and more than 50 universities around the world awarded him degrees. Even a species of spiders was named in his honor.
Ironically, the leader hailed as a symbol of peace at one point was on a U.S. terror watch list because of his affiliation with the ANC [African National Congress], which was designated a terrorist organization by South Africa’s apartheid government. He was finally taken off the list in 2008.
Mandela, although initially committed to non-violence, had, in fact, once been involved with the militant wing of the ANC, which was founded in association with the South African Communist Party and carried out a campaign of violence against government targets.
The man who died an anti-apartheid hero, world statesman and symbol of the strength of the human spirit was born Rolihlahla Mandela in a village near Umtata in the Transkei on July 18, 1918. Rolihlahla literally means "pulling the branch of a tree" but more colloquially, "troublemaker."
Pulling the branch of a tree can create quite a mess. Twenty-seven of Mandela’s 95 years on this planet were spent in prison for making trouble. He looked at the way oppressors increased the misery of the poor and disenfranchised, and, like Amos, decided to do something about it. The oppressors put him away; God objected!
Released from prison two decades ago, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa and an icon of grace that changes hearts and nations.
He once said:
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion, he wrote in his autobiography….People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.