Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much… Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:16, 19-20)
A while back I had an opportunity to share the Gospel with a stranger at the train station. We were chatting nicely, but as I began to share a bit of my testimony, I noticed her countenance change from cheerful to irritable.
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“I know you,” she said angrily.
As it turns out she did know me, and I knew her. It left me with only one option: I had to confess my sin to her. Essentially I informed her that the person she once knew was the old Dave and that he was no longer with us. I was in fact a new creation in Christ Jesus, submitted to His sanctification process. She wasn’t buying it at first, and frankly, I’m not sure she ever did, but nevertheless her smile did eventually return and I was able to finish our discussion on a positive and truthful note.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
The truth of the matter is that had I not disclosed these things to her, she most likely would have not allowed me to continue; she would have rightly deduced that I was the same old person she knew way back when. This woman would not have been interested in any good-thing I was involved with had she concluded I was still clinging to my old ways. She had a right to know what I knew: that what I had done was wrong and that I had repented. She was not required to believe me, but I was required to tell her.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1-3
All of which leads me to the focus of today’s blog.
We can all agree I’m no Nelson Mandela, but can we agree, for the sake of the Gospel, he owed us an explanation? Using the example of my sin soiling my witness, does it not stand to reason that Nelson Mandela’s transgressions, while having a much larger platform, sullied his? I contend that they do. I further believe that Nelson Mandela owed us his testimony. He either came to understand that his pre-incarceration methodology was errant or he didn’t. And even if we put aside the terrorism, murder, and mayhem allegations that preceded his arrest, I need to know how he went about justifying the legalization of murdering babies in the womb after he became president. It matters not that God used him to bring about freedom in South Africa. Lest we forget, God, for His good purposes, once caused a donkey to talk.
I want to be clear: I don’t hate Nelson Mandela. What I am saying is that because of his failure to be forthright with his previous enterprises, the man is not worthy of emulation or elevation. While it is true that we can suppose that he repented, I for one needed to hear it from the man himself; his position and status in the world demanded it. Nelson Mandela needed to share with the world how he got right with God, rather than lead us to assume he did. If he did not repent, he is not a role-model. If he did, the world would be a better place, for God’s sake, had he told us. For those who would say the world is a better place, there are approximately a million aborted people (in the Republic of South Africa) who might disagree, if given the chance. Again, I’m not saying I hate the man, nor am I even suggesting he was not a born-again believer. I’m merely saying the man blew his witness — his silence screamed, “It’s none of your business.”
It’s none of your business.”
From a worldly perspective, I suppose that a man’s business is private. After all, what transpires between man and God is personal. However, I assert that if that man wants to be effectively used by God, he must also be transparent in his walk with God. Our relationships with Jesus are personal ones, not private ones. This includes confession to others when confession to others is wise and prudent. I am keenly aware that had I chosen not to be truthful with the woman in the train station, it would have been right for her to exit.
That’s fine. But as Christians we must be prepared to defend the stances we have taken. In other words, if you laud Mandela for his anti-racism/apartheid efforts in South Africa, you will likely be called to justify his other less-than-popular deeds. And if you [rightly] say that you don’t agree with his other atrocities, then you’re left holding a shiny lump of gold atop a pile of feculent matter. Had he only confessed and repented, we could have set all this repugnant baggage aside.
Maybe he did.
I hope he did.
We’ll never know.
These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace
These articles may or may not be related:
- Nelson Mandela Should Be Ranked Alongside Jesus Christ: BBC presenter (ameborepublik.wordpress.com)
- The Lasting Impression of Nelson Mandela (damnfit.wordpress.com)
- Should Catholics Praise Nelson Mandela? (catholictruthblog.com)
- Few human beings can be compared to Jesus Christ. Nelson Mandela was one (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- The Tragedy of Nelson Mandela (karlomongaya.wordpress.com)
- The One Thing Alveda King Wished She Had Told Nelson Mandela When They Met (blackchristiannews.com)
- Nelson Mandela: A 20th Century Jesus? (everydayreligions.wordpress.com)
*You may or not agree with my remarks. If you wish to leave a comment, please refrain from being cruel or abusive. I do respond to every remark. Contextual Bible verses are always welcome additions.