In pretty much his last words to the American people, Abraham Lincoln began the wrap-up of his Second Inaugural Address with these famous, beautiful ideals:
With malice toward none, with charity for all . . .
And I think he really meant it. In a nation that was an ocean of anger and blaming and malice, he asked us to move forward without malice.
“Malice: Intention to harm or deprive in an illegal or immoral way. Desire to take pleasure in another’s misfortune.” [Wiktionary]
It’s a very high aspiration – but also a very Biblical one.
21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7)
7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices. (Col 3)
Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2)
It’s important. Let’s watch ourselves. Malice is a common commodity of human interaction; it is certainly around us today. Let’s be careful it does not infect the conversation or attitudes of us who claim to follow Christ!
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. (last paragraph of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865.)