Forgiveness is the peace and understanding that comes when you let go of that which has hurt you – not for anyone else, but for yourself. This release adds to your own sense of freedom and has been shown to reduce anger, depression and stress, leading to feelings of hope, peace, compassion and self-confidence.
John Sam is an unlikely voice of the power of forgiveness. After spending 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, he not only ready to forgive, but also asks the same of those around him.
Master Your Destiny spoke to Sam about the transformative power of forgiveness.
MYD: Tell us a little about yourself?
JS: I was born and raised in Windhoek, in a Katutura neighborhood, and a few years back, I went to prison.
MYD: How did you end up in prison?
JS: I met a certain Nigerian friend, or so-called friend. He was lost, and he didn’t have anywhere to go, so I gave him a place to stay. Our friendship grew and he informed me that he had a business partner somewhere in America who was staying in South Africa.
They wanted to use my postal address for recovering parts from South America before sending them on to South Africa. Best it turns out these electronic parts were not real electronic parts. Cocaine was stashed in the files. When I took this ‘friend’ to the bus terminal to go back to South Africa, he was arrested and he pointed me out.
I was arrested, my mom was arrested, and my sister was arrested. Because the postal address was registered in my mom’s name and my elder sister was the one who picked up the stuff from the post office, all three of us were arrested. Thanks to the almighty, the were released and I was the only one who was sentenced to prison. I was sentenced to 20 years, of which two years were suspended.
MYD: How did it feel in that moment to have your whole life ahead of you and then to be behind bars?
JS: It was heartbreaking. My mom even passed away while I was inside, so it was very tough. I only learnt to serve my sentence and to be myself – that’s what helped me most – and I prayed a lot.
While I was still in prison, Mr Jay-Jay, who is now my boss, was a prison guard. He was working with the sports administration division, and he liked the way I played football. So when he was moved from the sports division to the workshop division, he recruited me to be a panel beater and spray painter. So for the last nine, maybe ten, years of my sentence, I spent my time in the workshop.
When I was released, he was the first person to approach me and give me employment.
MYD: Do you have forgiveness for the system that sent you to prison?
JS: We are all human beings, and it was people just like me who were judging me, so I’ve got no regrets. I’m just looking forward.
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