Posts Tagged ‘2-24-2019’

A Difficult Challenge! 2-24-2019

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

I find this Gospel very difficult. I say to myself – what a difficult challenge! What helped me were these two stories. Listen.
When Abraham Lincoln was campaigning for the presidency, one of his arch-enemies was a man named Edwin Stanton. For some reason Stanton hated Lincoln. He used every ounce of his energy to degrade Lincoln in the eyes of the public. So deep rooted was Stanton’s hate for Lincoln that he uttered unkind words about his physical appearance and sought to embarrass him at every point. But, in spite of this, Lincoln was elected the sixteenth president of the United States.
Then came the period when Lincoln had to select his cabinet, which would consist of persons who would be his most intimate associates in implementing his programs. He started choosing men here and there for the various positions.
The day finally came for Lincoln to select the all-important post of Secretary of War. Can you imagine who Lincoln chose to fill this post? None other than the man named Stanton. There was an immediate uproar in the president’s inner circle when the news began to spread. Advisor after advisor was heard saying, “Mr. President, you are making a mistake. Do you know this man Stanton? Are you familiar with all the ugly things he said about you? He is your enemy. He will seek to sabotage your programs. Have you thought this through, Mr. President?”
Mr. Lincoln’s answer was terse and to the point: “Yes, I know Mr. Stanton. I am aware of all the terrible things he said about me. But after looking over the nation, I find he is the best man for the job.” So Stanton became Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War and rendered an invaluable service to his nation and his president.
Not many years later Lincoln was assassinated. Many laudable things were said about him. But of all the great statements made about Abraham Lincoln, the words of Stanton remain among the greatest. Standing near the dead body of the man he once hated, Stanton referred to him as one of the greatest men who ever lived and said, “He now belongs to the ages.”
If Lincoln had hated Stanton both men would have gone to their graves as bitter enemies. But through the power of forgiveness Lincoln transformed an enemy into a friend. One simple act of forgiveness can change people’s lives. Are there any Stanton’s in your life right now?
Some years ago, a pastor in Boston was being harassed by a woman in his congregation. She started false rumors about him. She wrote vicious letters about him to his bishop and others. She initiated petitions to have him removed. After several months of this, the woman moved to another city and not long afterward was converted to Christ. Part of the process of her conversion was to realize the terrible wrong she had done and all the pain and suffering she had inflicted on her pastor in Boston. Consequently, she wrote him a long letter explaining what had happened to her and how deeply she regretted what she had done to him. The pastor immediately sent her a telegram with three words on it: “Forgiven, forgotten, forever!”
Is there someone we/you/me need to say those words to and mean them? Forgiven, Forgotten, Forever or do we want to live life like the trapped rattlesnake filled with resentment and bitterness and bite ourselves to death! I hope not. Lord help us!