Ubuntu ~ There is no future without forgiveness

We’ve all been hurt by others with their words, actions and even inactions. We feel angry, bitter and at times even seek revenge. When these feelings are prolonged, they become imprisoning. As has often been said, the victim becomes twice a victim – a victim of the event and of an all-absorbing bitterness. And subsequently leads to renewing the cycle of hurt with yourself and those around you.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure to change the future.

Bernard Meltzer

Every culture has a unique way of seeing forgiveness. In Hawaiian there is a term called “ho’oponopono” which loosely translated means ‘I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you’. In Sierra Leone people use “fambul tok” (literally, “family talk” in Krio, one of the local languages) to offer forgiveness. The word “ubuntu” in the Zulu language is more of a philosophy of forgiveness and reconciliation based on a shared humanity.

Credit: BBC/Getty Images

Ubuntu really blew my mind as it takes forgiveness to a whole new level. It is obviously very difficult to practice and embrace, especially when you are hurting. In a state of non-forgiveness, we close our hearts in order to protect ourselves from any more hurt or pain. In this state we’re cut off from feeling love, not only for the person who hurt us, but for ourselves as well. We cannot truly be the person we are called to be for all those around us.

Forgiveness is a recognition of our ubuntu nature, which is the truth of who we are. Ubuntu tells a story about humanity that allows us to see the bigger picture.

As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind I would still be in prison.

Nelson Mandela

When I think of forgiveness and ubuntu, Nelson Mandela comes to mind. For him to forgive those who imprisoned him for 27 years, he had to know and believe something that most of the world has failed to grasp. He emerged from prison and stated: “As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger,
hatred and bitterness behind I would still be in prison.”

Here is Barack Obama talking about Ubuntu at Mandela’s memorial, a spirit that Nelson Mandela embodied


When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.  Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

Catherine Ponder

Dissolve the link and unleash your ubuntu nature! It’s not easy, but definitely not impossible!

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