Mandela and Jesus on forgiveness



Tessanne takes Marley magic to The Voice
BY VERNON DAVIDSON Executive editor — publications
Tuesday, December 03, 2013

TESSANNE Chin infused The Voice with Marley magic last night, delivering an excellent rendition of the late reggae superstar’s classic Redemption Song that left viewers with goosebumps.
The Marley song was the first of two numbers performed by Chin (photo) who, in her pre-performance interview, expressed her intention of following in his footsteps.

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Jacob Zuma announces Mandela’s death

5 December 2013 Last updated at 21:58 GMT

Nelson Mandela has died at home aged 95, South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma has announced.

In address to the nation, Mr Zuma said Nelson Mandela “passed away peacefully”.

ST CATHERINE, Jamaica – Three girls were on Thursday sexually assaulted by an armed intruder at a school in Linstead, St Catherine.
The Ministry of Education issued a statement on Friday saying members of the ministry’s team have been offering individual counselling to the girls.
Photo used for illustration purposes only.
The Ministry is also appealing to members of the community to assist the police in carrying out their investigations.

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These three  news items caught my attention this week, and indeed I would dare say, the entire the nation. The first one helped galvanize the Jamaican population, both at home and in the USA, even more so than before, as # TEAMTESSANNE  AND # TESSANNETOPFOUR,  continued to trend mightily on twitter and other social media.  The second  one led to an spontaneous and tremendous  outpouring of tributes to a  truly modern day hero. The third triggered anger, amazement, unbelief, and a series of other emotions and reactions at this brazen attack, in ‘broad daylight’. Especially when it happened at a time of  serious national debate about the recent upsurge in homicides, and the role that ‘gun lyrics’ play in promoting violent behavior.
And  so Jamaica joined the world community in mourning the death of an political icon, Nelson Mandela. Many of us, of a certain age group,  grew up in the era of Black Power:  with memories of Eldridge Cleaver’s  ” Soul on Ice” etched deep in our souls;  with Franz  Fanon’s  seminal work on struggle for freedom  in Algeria, ” Wretched of the Earth”; with Angola’s clarion call for freedom ” a luta continua’.  And the next big step was to link up with the ” Free Nelson Mandela” movement; and to be inspired by Winnie Mandela,  Walter  Sisulu, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, and the Sharpesville Massacre. So Nelson Mandela’s  struggle  for a democratic South Africa is deep in the psyche of the average Jamaica.

Sadly, the daily, up to three per day, reports of murder,  is also a reality etched deep in the psyche of our nation. What manner of man, what kind of human being, could bring himself to despoil, could violate,  a young girl in such manner. In such a vile and wicked way! And not one, but three of the nation’s precious young ladies. To add insult to injury,  tonight we hear that it may be four. That kind of deep soul searching was very much a part of the Truth and Reconciliation exercise that Nelson Mandela ordered, and which we witnessed on television when one of the  victims posed the same question to one who had acted with similar bestiality. ” What manner of man, could hear the groans and the moans of his victim……”.
Finally, will Tessanne win the coveted first place in NBC’s Voice, and earn not only the $US 100,000 but the hearts and minds of not only Jamaicans, but the many Americans who are clearly rooting for her and helping to drive up the ratings of the show?


So in the midst of this emotional roller coaster week, with our spirits soaring to the heavens with praise and thanksgiving at one moment, and the next, being dragged into a deep chasm,  sinking low into a nadir of depression and horror,  the Sovereign God spoke words of comfort, and caution.


I watched the Voice last night. And got caught up with the excitement of “#tessannetopfour”.  Then I began my devotions this morning reflecting on the faithfulness of God as shared with us,  by the words of the great hymn ” Great is Thy faithfulness”.  Two thoughts then came  flowing into my mind. One triggered by:

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars in their courses above,
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness mercy and love;

that whether or not Tessanne wins the competition, and we would all rejoice if she did, Christmas will come this year. And next year. And the year after. Unless God comes back for His world. So we can depend Him. Without any shadow of a doubt!  Not so those who will vote for TessAnne.
The second thought is,  what is the reason why we rejoice in His faithfulness?  For His greatness! For His awesomeness!  Yes, but most of all,” for His mercy and love! Love for the vilest offender who repents! And a promise of a pardon for Sin and a Peace that endureth. Can there be more reason for joy and rejoicing that that! Quo vadis then, from whence cometh,  this talk of a joyless Christmas, by a recent Gleaner Editorial, admittedly written against the background of the spiraling murder rate,  were it not for Tessanne?  In the instant case, and the contributions of other cultural and sporting icons, at other times. I know the writer meant well, and was making a  valid point about the joy-killing, pun very much intended,  nature of our current circumstances. But, Tessanne #the reason for the joy in the season!  Seriously!


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thy own own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed that hand s have provided,
great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood
To every believer the promise of God;
the vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Praise The Lord, praise The Lord !
Let the earth hear his voice;
praise The Lord, praise The Lord!
Let the people rejoice:
O come to the Father,
through Jesus the Son
and give him the glory;
great things he hath done.


Although  he was a son, learnt obedience from what he suffered…Hebrews 5:8

Whatever one may recall about Nelson Mandela, that for which he will be remembered, for the ages, was his ability to forgive, and love his enemies, and work with them to fashion a new South Africa. It could have been much different, so much different. Especially when one recalls the book ‘ Soul on Ice”, and the Black Power Movement. The bitterness, the anger, the destruction, and the eventual emptiness. Primarily, if not all because,  Mandela learnt, or chose to learn,  or was inspired, I dare say by God, to appreciate the need to love one’s enemies, during those back-breaking, and  potentially mentally debilitating twenty seven years in incarceration.

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first…Job 42:12.

After a long and eventful life, Nelson Mandela, having suffered so much; the break-up of his marriage with Winnie Mandela, the loss of his Son to HIV/AIDS, the pain of Soweto, the death of many of his friends, perhaps none worse that Steve Biko, the years in prison,  walked away from power and found peace. Peace with a new wife, with his children and grandchildren ( despite the loss of a great grand-child, Zenani, to a motor vehicle crash), and I am sure peace with his God.

No doubt we will hear more of this great man as the days and weeks ahead unfold. But that which should give us pause as we celebrate this extraordinary human being, a gift to the world by God, is that we should learn as the Scriptures teach us, ” not to store up treasures on earth where moth and thieves can destroy and steal, but rather store up treasures in heaven which no one can steal and which cannot be destroyed. Matthew 6:19-20.
Mandela’s legacy was not his towering intellect, or his sophisticated political skills, nor his  earthly riches, but that which our  Savior would have us do – to love humankind, to thirst for justice and to forgive, and forgive, and forgive.

And so God blessed him more in the latter part of his life and granted him peace. On earth and I pray God in heaven too.
Was he a Christian? In due course we will all find out I am sure.
The question is, Do we have such a man in Jamaica; in politics, in journalism, in business, in the professions, in the church.  Someone who is prepared to suffer, and sacrifice for our country and put our nation above self,  political and sectarian interests. I pray God we may think on these things as we praise Mandela, and mourn, if not cry for our ” beloved country”.

Final Comments/Observations/Revelations

@lucienforJesus: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29.#RIPMandela #comfortforJamaicaalandoftroubles

@lucienforJesus: Do not fret  because of evil men, or be envious of those who do wrong; for lke grass they will soon wither. Psalm 37:1-2. #RIPMandela

@lucienforJesus: With The Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2Peter3:8. Apartheid died long before 46664. #RIPMandela

@lucienforJesus: Be still before The Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men ..carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7 #RIPMandela

On account of circumstances beyond my control, I was requested on Friday to preach at a church located in the heart of an inner city today. I protested mildly, but accepted the directive, as if from The Lord,  and proceeded to prepare. Whilst doing so, the tweets above, poured out of the Scriptures. What is the message?

Then this morning I shared with persons who  had suffered much pain and grief, and who  live with the specter of violence hanging over their heads daily, like the proverbial ” Sword of Damocles;  Do not fret when evil does bad things to people, as  one day God will put an end to them. One day good will conquer over evil. There  will be much pain and suffering, but God will  protect us from all evil, whether in this life or the next. It is a certainly as Scripture cannot be broken.

The thing is to learn to trust God, and believe, not just when ” Mandela is freed”, but when he was in jail for 27 years. I believe this discipline of trusting God served Mandela well during those long years. And thus he was able to rise about the evil of his oppressors, and obey God’s call to forgive. And to go further, to bless those who persecuted him. I wonder if the world, the journalists, the world leaders, the ordinary man on the street, who are now praising Mandela, understand that this ordinary human being, this weak man, this weary man, was ” given strength by God, and whose ” power was increased by God”. I wonder!.

How else could  those who had been savagely raped, those whose relatives had been brutally murdered, those whose land had been stolen, those who had been attacked by dogs, those whose dignity had been ruthlessly and systemically trampled on, learn how to forgive. If not for the mercy and grace of God, planted in their souls, and in the soul of Mandela, by the unchanging Word of God. How else?

So whether Tessanne wins or not, is of little moment, in the grand scheme of things, in the life of my country. But whether or not we learn from the life and work of Mandela, whether or not we move on from the wickedness which visited itself in the lives of those three young ladies, by being obedient to the Word of God, is literally a matter of life and death for my nation. And for the future of South Africa! For if we do not learn to forgive, to love our enemies and those who persecute us, we will never become weak and weary, but filled with revenge and  bitterness. Let us therefore learn from Mandela, that evil can be overcome with love, as when we react in that manner, the Sovereign God steps in. And then what seems to be impossible will happen. Whether in a thousand years or in a day, we do not know. But remember always that:

” All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the
flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of Lord stands forever.”  1 Peter 1:24-25 NIV


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