CAST Voices Devotion: #HatredMustFall: The Freedom of Forgiveness
By Rolan Gulston
Matthew 6: 12-14
In the past twenty-three years of South Africa’s democracy, many have come to relish the political, financial and physical freedoms that this change has allowed. ‘Freedom’ is thought of as the state of existing without limitations; freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of movement. Paradoxically, feeling ‘free’ gives us a sense of security in knowing that we are in control. It can therefore be said that true freedom lies in our mind-set: our psychological freedom. In his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”, Nelson Mandela wrote that, upon his release, were it not for a shift in his mental attitude, specifically his choice to “leave his bitterness and hatred behind, [he] would still be in prison.”
In this passage of scripture centred on the Beatitudes (Beautiful Attitudes) of Christianity, Jesus calls us to do exactly that. Forgiveness frees us to love, ourselves and others, just as we are by God. It is no wonder, then, that Christ instructed the Apostles to recite these words in daily prayer as a frequent reminder to be mindful of our attitudes towards others, and how harmful it can be to harbour feelings of resentment.
But forgiveness is not easy, and it is nearly impossible to forget. One way of overcoming this is to reflect on and redress harmful thoughts and attitudes through open dialogue. Understanding and empathizing with those that we oppose can help to break down the psychological walls that confine and inhibit our ability to love.
Going forward as the torch-bearers of freedom in this country, it is incumbent on us to follow Christ’s teaching in embracing a more reconciliatory attitude in order to truly free ourselves from the burdens of the past.
- In your view, what #MustFall, and why?
- How would these sentiments help to move our communities forward?
- Do you feel free? How have you embraced your freedom?