Abraham Lincoln won the presidency of a divided country. There were four major candidates in 1860, and Lincoln only narrowly received his electoral majority. Among his harshest critics was Edwin Stanton of Ohio who opposed Lincoln’s election, calling him among other things the “original gorilla.” Yet Lincoln asked Stanton to serve as Secretary of War, recognizing his organizational skills were greatly needed for the war effort. When Lincoln was assassinated, Stanton said, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”
We do not have to strike back at everyone who says or does something with which we disagree. It may be temporarily satisfying, but in the end it leads to bitterness and often an escalating cycle of revenge and retaliatory actions. Love does not insist on getting even—in fact it glories in peace. Paul wrote that love, “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Many people find themselves living stress-filled lives because they do not allow love to do its work of peace.