In the aftermath of the death of Nelson Mandela, I read a very inspirational message from Larry Minnix, the CEO of LeadingAge, our national non-profit senior living association. He reflected better than I could hope to and I would like to pass along some of his column: “Nelson Mandela's death caused me to ponder how a man can be unrighteously imprisoned for 27 years and emerge from that experience forgiving the people and the racism that produced it. “In doing so, he not only became the president of his country, but also he became an exemplar among very few in history. “I don't know how someone can be that forgiving. Most people in his position would have retaliated. This time of year seems to intensify the negative power of the bondage of the unforgiven or the liberating power of forgiveness. “So, let me give you some holiday advice about forgiveness based on my 45 years in our field:
• Stop beating yourself up for the past because you can't change it – only learn from it and try to forgive yourself.
• Stop beating yourself up for things you didn't do but others will blame you for.
• Stop beating others up for the failings, shortcomings and imperfections for which they should ask for forgiveness. And quit bringing them up or saying I told you so!
• Stop associating with people who beat you up - avoid poisonous people of any kind! –especially, during the holidays. They can ruin everything.
• Stop trying to please people who can't be pleased – or, if you must do things for them, stop expecting that they will be grateful - just do it!
• Forgive others and ask for forgiveness.
• And practice the daily art of forgiveness in prayer, meditation, and interaction.“The life of Nelson Mandela is just the most recent example of the transformational power of forgiveness. “In this spiritual season, let's all harness that power for healing and peace.
”All I can say is, Amen. Bless you all in this season of hope, forgiveness, and faith.