March 1, 2013
I love, love, LOVE Abraham Lincoln for his calm, kind demeanor and the way that he could talk to someone even in the midst of his anger and disappointment without ever saying a mean word or disrespecting them. Yet, the reason he talked to people the way he did was because of one small moment back in Illinois when he used to speak out his opinions and thoughts about people publicly by writing criticism about them on a piece of paper and then dropping it in the street where someone in town would eventually pick it up and take it to the newspaper press where it would be printed for the entire city to read.
He did it one too many times and to the wrong person, James Shields, another politician, who challenged him to a duel to the death on the sandbar on the Mississippi River on September 22, 1842. Their arguments escalated and the hostilities between them would have ended in the death of one of them if it weren't for the intervention of friends at the last minute.
Lincoln learned a valuable lesson that day and he swore that never again would he let his emotions dictate his viewpoint of another individual as he had not walked in their shoes and only had his perspective. Even during the civil war, replacing General after General who blatantly defied his orders, he would write a letter to them filled with emotion and how he felt then throw it into his fireplace to burn.
Forgiveness sets us free. "And I will forgive their wrongdoings, and I will never again remember their sins." Jeremiah 31:34. Forgiving others is easy. Forgiving myself is close to impossible. Lucky for me God's grace knows no bounds, and that Ben and Jerry's make Chubby Hubby ice cream to appease my guilt.