Over the past several days, we have heard much about Nelson Mandela. The Internet, print and televised media have flooded us with responses to news of his transition from this life. A vital fact that I have yet to see highlighted is that you share DNA with Nelson Mandela.
Yes, whomever you are wherever you are, you share DNA with Nelson Mandela.
A man of dignity, great man, passionate, forgiving, formidable leader, loving and saint. Just a few of the words used to describe former President Mandela are common during this time. You may know his story already or you will be able to learn more about him as his life is reminisced on the global platform in the days ahead.
There will be those who celebrate him and his contribution to the world, as there will be those who degrade and berate who he was as a man. He will be emulated and rebuked, acknowledged and ignored. None of which changes the fact that you share DNA with Nelson Mandela.
My Experience with Nelson Mandela
Some years ago my husband and I had the opportunity to go to Johannesburg, South Africa. We traveled there with the pastor of our church and a group of others from our congregation. We spent fourteen days there. Some of the most profound days of my life. While I did not meet Mr. Mandela in person I studied him, visited his home, and toured the place where he was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years of confinement; Robben Island.
The day that we boarded the ferry to go to the island was especially quiet. The common frivolity of a vacation was absent from the atmosphere. Upon reaching the prison surrounded by water the mood became even more somber as we were guided through the property by a former inmate. The starkness of the cells where the prisoners were kept is reflected in the image below.
The object to the left on the floor which resembles a covered kettle was the individual toilet used by prisoners in their cells. Each morning they left their small living quarters to eject the contents of their makeshift toilets.
The concrete slab upon which prisoners slept had a bone chilling way of transmitting the cold of the African climate through the extremely, thin mats, which were sometimes taken away.
I walked where he had walked, stood where he had stood.
I could almost hear the sounds of the prisoners as our guide told us his experience when the sunset and darkness fell. I share DNA with Nelson Mandela.
Mr. Mandela was sentenced to prison because of his level of involvement with resistance to apartheid and segregation in South Africa. Over the many years of his imprisonment he began to move from the high level of resistance including violence, to a way of leading nonviolence throughout the world. You share DNA with Nelson Mandela.
How do you share DNA with Nelson Mandela?
Here the acronym DNA represents Dynamic Natural Attribute. Our Dynamic Natural Attribute is LOVE.
God is love, and God created us in His image. Image, that means likeness, right? Much like a photocopy of a document is not the exact same thing as the original, however it is the likeness of the model from which it was created.
Since we are made in the image of God and God is love that means we must have love as part of us. Our very being then must have an element of love. Not only do we look like God physically but our insides are made of the same elements too. Just as a natural father passes on his traits, both spiritual and physical, along to the next generation, we can often see the proclivities in a family line when we look closely at the attributes within the family.
Likewise, in the DNA are spiritual proclivities present in our makeup. Just as there are basic components of all human beings in the physical blueprint (brain function, development of language, etc.), there are specific physical dynamics we can expect from those who share the genetic code of Homo sapiens.
In the same way, we all share basic components in our spiritual blueprint, I call these inherent commonalities part of our Dynamic Natural Attribute (DNA) evident and deposited in us by our creator, our Heavenly Father. The most powerful component of our DNA is LOVE.
Do you see evidence you share DNA with Nelson Mandela?
As you hear about Mr. Mandela and weigh in with your opinions, do you see the evidence that you share DNA with him? Do you continue to hold him in prison and see only the charges brought against him? Do you see him as a law breaker? Do you see him as a person deserving of his plight? Do you wonder how he was able to treat his abusive captors with respect?
Do you understand how he was able to free himself from a self-imposed prison of hate and lack of forgiveness? Are you imprisoned? If so, how long have you been confined? Do you have actions in your past, which in retrospect were not in the interest of all humanity, including yourself? Have you always loved your neighbor as yourself? Do you love your neighbor as yourself now?
Take Inventor and Take Action, because you share DNA with Nelson Mandela as do I, what will your legacy be?
“Lighting the path to loving your neighbor as yourself.”
Photo Credit: Robben Island cell. Off the Western Cape of South Africa. By Ron Talley, Sr. During our tour we were not allowed to know the precise cell of Mr. Mandela. As part of the tour the cell pictured was representative of the cell which housed him during his imprisonment there.