“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.” – President Abraham Lincoln

I know that on many levels, it could be said that our society is deeply divided. That view would be correct. One of the reasons, I believe, this is true is that we live in a world where we engage in and encourage malice towards many, and charity for very few. Do we live in a country with racists? Of course. Do we live in a country with bigots? Of course. Do we live in a country with people who hate those of a different viewpoint? Of course.

Do we vote for people of all political stripes who engage in vitriolic, inflammatory rhetoric? Of course. There’s no one on our country’s national political scene, from the White House to the Speaker’s Chair, to the Majority Leader, to the Minority Leader in both houses of Congress, and in governor’s mansions across the fruited plain, who are not guilty of demonizing political opponents, and they do it because we, the people, have not sent them a message that it is beneath the office they hold (or are pursuing) and beneath human dignity to engage in these practices.

From Louisiana to Carolina so many other places in our country, we have seen way too many incidents where vile hatred has led to massive massacres of innocent victims. We clamor to know why. We want to know how we can prevent these things.

While we cannot legislate evil out of existence, nor ever make it where these things are guaranteed to never happen again, we can change, within our own circles, the rhetoric. Even towards those whom we despise, we can change the tone of conversation. I have strong opinions (shocker, I know) about many people who make the news in our society, but even those with whom I have the STRONGEST disagreement I know I would enjoy getting to know and visit with on a personal level.

Do I think we should have strong debate in our society about the major issues of the day? Of course. But I do think we would be wise to embody the words of Abraham Lincoln, and live in such a way where we have malice towards nonecharity for all, striving to bind up our nation’s wounds, working towards a just and lasting peace among ourselves (understanding that peace is not the absence of violence but a state of our heart which is indicated by the rhetoric in which we engage.)

Or, as someone else put it, let us “Love the Lord our God with everything we have and our neighbors as ourselves.”

Grace and Peace, Lamar