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Kindness & Charity

Aren’t these unusual times in which we are living? King Solomon told us “there is nothing new under the sun.” That must be, because rumor has it he was the wisest man who ever lived- but some of the things that are happening just now seem unpleasantly new. And frankly, I wish they would go away.

So, I got thinking about Abraham Lincoln. Those were dark, hideous days in our country. Cousins, brothers, Americans were greatly divided and fighting to the death. Estimates say there were between 650,000 and 850,000 casualties. Can you begin to imagine the heartbreak and sorrow from those staggering losses? I can’t. I try to envision 6+ University of Michigan football stadiums packed to the rafters. It’s incomprehensible. The loss devastating.

And yet, in the midst of that, Abraham Lincoln, genius that he was, said:

“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.”

Wow. There’s nothing in his words about “agreeing”.  I doubt he ever expected that after all he had seen and heard. Yet, the gauntlet is thrown. Lincoln set the bar high – and for good reason. There is a lot about strength in the positive power of caring for others. Malice toward none. Charity for all.

Let’s aspire to follow the blueprint President Lincoln gave us. Let’s practice his words and see where they lead. He seemed to be convinced we could attain “lasting peace”…let’s keep his dream alive.

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