’Invictus’: Convict Us to Forgive Others

I still remember in the Fall of 2009 when I started to see previews for the movie Invictus.  I really didn’t have a lot of interest in the movie and had no desire to see it.  It wasn’t until it actually came out in theaters and I started to read the reviews and what the movie was actually about that I started to become more and more intrigued by the movie.  Finally, when it came out on DVD, I decided that I had to at least watch the movie once to curb my curiosity over the hype of the movie.  Boy, did I not see this coming, after watching the movie, I now have a total different perspective of it, and it has quickly become one of my all time favorites.  In fact, I need to find a way to go out and get a copy!!

For those of you that don’t know about the movie, the movie is a true story about Nelson Mandela becoming president of South Africa.  It is a story about how he came to office and used rugby to restore the faith of the people and to join the black people and white people together in South Africa.   Here is the trailer of the movie.
So why is this movie so intriguing to me.  Well, to be perfectly honest, I didn't realize how many spiritual lessons we can learn from this movie.  One of the central messages in this movie is Mandela's action to forgive the white people of South Africa.  During Apartheid, Mandela and many other black South Africans were imprisoned on Robben Island for many years.  When Mandela got out of jail and ran and won the presidency, he vowed to change the political ideal of the country.  One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is Mandela's first day in office.  As he is coming into his office he sees a lot of people packing up and anticipating getting fired because of the fact that they were white.  Mandela notices this and calls for a meeting for the whole staff.  When he addresses the staff he proceeds to tell them that no one is going to be fired and that if anyone wishes to leave, he wants them to leave because they don't want to work with him.  He declares that he needs everyone, both black and white.  Here is a great lesson in humbleness.  Mandela realizes that he cannot lead this country on his own and he needs people who have worked in government to help him, regardless of skin color.  
The second powerful lesson in this movie is Mandela's continual message to forgive.  Here is a man who got jailed because he was a black man by white men.  But when he comes into office, his whole goal is to unite the country by having whites and blacks work alongside each other.  He displays this through his words as well as through his actions.  When his body guards ask for more help, who are all black, he employs former security guards from the previous president who are all white.  He wants them to work together.  There are many other instances throughout the movie that display Mandela's forgiveness.
So what can we learn from this movie?  Well, I know for me, it really brought forgiveness and humbleness to the forefront.  As an asian american working, living, and associating with a dominant white American population, it really made me think.   No matter what we say or how we try to hide it, racism, to some degree, still plays out in this United States of America.  But God has bigger and better plans for us as a country.  And I whole heartedly believe that if we are going to truly live as a free country, humbleness and forgiveness are going to be at the forefront of that movement.   I say this not only for white Americans, but also for minorities of this country as well.  We need to be willing to forgive and swallow our pride.  There are many White Americans out there who have humbled themselves before us, but we have yet to forgive them for past injustices.  Forgiveness is such a powerful tool.  I cannot tell you how good it feels to hear the words “I forgive you.”  It is almost up there with “I love you.”  There are so many times I have wept because someone spoke those three powerful words to me.  To know that I am forgiven, that there is no burden to carry, is such a relief and is so refreshing.  
So I challenge you as you go throughout your day.  How can you forgive?  Is there a family member, an old friend, someone that you haven't forgiven yet for any past injustice?  Pray that god would give you humility to call that person up or go and see them and forgive them. Just think, they may be feeling bad for what they have done, but don't know how to approach you to ask for your forgiveness.  Remember, God doesn't call us to wait to be asked for forgiveness, He calls us to be quick to forgive.  Also remember, there is peace and joy in forgiveness not only for you as you forgive, but for that person you are forgiving.  And who knows, you may lead that person to Christ, which would make it all the more worth it!
Until next time, be blessed and love like you never have!

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