I admire Abraham Lincoln and appreciate his words! Our sixteenth President, who penned the Gettysburg Address, also gave us such memorable lines as:
- "'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."
- “Sir my concern is not whether God is on our side. My great concern is to be on God's side."
- “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can not fool all the people all of the time.”
- “It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river.”
Lincoln was a man of resolve, but he was also a man of common sense. There were times to “put up the dukes,” and then there were times to relax the fists and extend a hand of friendship. Carl Sandburg, a Lincoln biographer, described the President as a man of “velvet steel.” What a great appellation and fitting explanation as to why Lincoln’s sterling reputation has not tarnished over the years. When I open the pages of Scripture I see another person of velvet steel—Jesus! They said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." (John 8:4-11 ESV)Carry something soft in your pocket today. Every time you touch it, pray this prayer: “God, give me Jesus’ discretion. Help me be a person of velvet steel.”
When people stood before the judge’s bench, Jesus knew when to bang the gavel and when to put it down. He knew when to be compassionate rather than condemning, when to be relaxed rather than rigid, and when to excuse the offense rather than to exact the toll.
Being a person of velvet steel is not easy. It takes divine discretion. ‘Lord, replace my cold heart with a warm embrace. Give me the wisdom to be a person of velvet steel!”
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