Probably no other man in American political history was ever more denounced and hated and double-crossed than Abraham Lincoln. Yet Lincoln, according to Herndon’s classic biography, “never judged men by his like or dislike for them. If any given act was to be performed, he could understand that his enemy could do it just as well as anyone. If a man had maligned him or been guilty of personal ill-treatment, and was the fittest man for the place, Lincoln would give him that place, just as soon as he would give it to a friend. I do not think he ever removed a man because he was his enemy or because he disliked him.”
Dale Carnegie surmised that Lincoln was right. He correctly said that if we had inherited the same physical, mental, and emotional characteristics that our enemies have inherited, and if life had done to us what it has done to them, we would act exactly as they do. We couldn’t possibly do anything else.
Carnegie’s simple lesson was that instead of hating our enemies, let’s pity them and thank God that life has not made us what they are. Instead of heaping condemnation and revenge upon our enemies, let’s give them our understanding, our sympathy, our help, our forgiveness, and our prayers.
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles