"With Malice Toward None...

with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Obviously not my words, but the words of one of our greatest Presidents.  (In my opinion; and yes I am EXTREMELY biased as my Great, Great Grandfather was part of his security detail...no comments on that one.)

Today marks Lincoln's birthday.  On the news this morning there was a story about a woman starting her prison term for involuntary manslaughter as she sent her "boyfriend" texts encouraging him to commit suicide, which he did.  Now there is more to the story I am sure, but it resonated with me today as I thought of  Lincoln's words.

We are so quick to show malice and slow to act in a charitable way.  If I want to get biblical, I would remember this verse from the book of James:  "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

Malice/anger is easy.  Charity is more difficult.  It requires us (as it pointed out in the verse) to speak slow; aka:  Watch your words.  There is a reason why they say the pen is mightier than the sword.  (I'm just full of verse and quotations today, aren't I?)  Words can be sharp like a knife and they can inflict damage that although not visible to the human eye can be just as painful.

I know that I find myself quick to anger all too often.  I realize that if I want to receive charity/kindness, I must set my own example.  I need to take stock of my own anger and realize how it affects others.  This is vital as I parent a child (now a teen).  When I see him quick to anger, I have to take some responsibility.  Where did he learn that anger?  What examples has he seen?  

I need to BE the person that I want my child to become.  Yes, there are other influences out there as well, but it all starts at home.  It starts with the behavior of his parents, his family and his extended family.  We must teach by example; not just by words.

I NEED to teach by example.  

I want those words uttered by Lincoln to be part of my life.  I want to exhibit malice towards none and charity to all.  Or at least I want to exhibit as best I can, because I freely admit that I am a flawed human being.  We all are.  However, we can work towards being the people that Lincoln spoke of. (Or if you are more of a New Testament kind of person, that it says in James 1:  19-20.)

If only for today, try to exhibit charity and avoid the malice.  If we try today, then perhaps we can try tomorrow as well.  Perhaps we can make this a habit.  We can work towards being better human beings; a better country and a better world.


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