Love Your Enemies
One of the greatest risks we take in a day’s time is talking! I don’t remember a time when speech was so scrutinized by others for the express purpose of finding fault. Freedom of Speech is being removed from the landscape of this country. There are various reasons, none of which are good ones. Some cease to speak out because of fear of offending, or facing accusations of “hate-speech” for speaking one’s convictions, or of being “shut out” or “taken off of public media outlets” if what is said is not in line with the new demands of the networks and social media to comply absolutely the grossly immoral social agenda.
Seeing the seismic changes that are transpiring, it creates in many of us a desire to be vitriolic and vicious in our responses or commentary. All of us with any backbone morally are repulsed daily by watching the slow death of a republic. I am not unique when I say that hearing some of the rhetoric, I want to lash out with name calling, demeaning comments, and caustic reactionary speech.
But that is not my calling nor the will of my Master. He taught that we are to “love our enemies, pray for those who despitefully use us, and persecute us”. That teaching is so very hard for me to practice… and I can see that I have many brothers and sisters with my same malady. Only God can cause us to love and pray for the persons who seek at every turn to belittle, harass, and stifle moral truth. It is not that we are to compromise what we believe nor to cease from stating and living our convictions. It is that we are to so love and lead that those “enemies” come to respect us even though they do not agree with us or vice versa.
When Abraham Lincoln was running for President of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, “You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the President of the United States.” …
Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States.… Then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Edwin Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: “Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done and tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?”
Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: “Oh yeah. I know about it. I read about it. I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.”
Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War. As the war was coming to an end, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made about Abraham Lincoln was by this man Edwin Stanton. As Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, the room at Peterson’s was filled with people weeping in their grief, Mr. Stanton stood up and said, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen. Now he belongs to the ages.” (Copied). Although Stanton had been very harsh in what he said about Lincoln before Lincoln became President, he came to admire him as a great leader as he served with him.