Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be the best US President in the history of our nation.
This last summer I studied American History from 1492 up till the end of the Civil War. There was one thing that Lincoln did which I found to be quite amazing.
In the aftermath of the war there was no shortage of ideas on how the South should be re-admitted into the union. Of all the ideas Lincoln’s was possibly the most unlikely. Lincoln offered the Amnesty Proclamation.
The Amnesty Proclamation was also called the “10 Percent Reconstruction” plan. This plan only required 10% of a states voters (not including Confederate officials) to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. and adopt the Emancipation of slaves to achieve re-admission into the union.
Lincoln was met with a lot of opposition from his own party, the Republicans. They were concerned that such a lenient plan would allow the southern aristocracy to return, and many slaves would be forced back into captivity. Lincoln’s main concern was the successful return of the states to a single union, and He blocked anything else which was more strict.
I think we have read and heard so much about the civil war that we cannot grasp how deeply divided this country really was. Imagine being the president and watching half-a-million American men die because of the South’s addiction to forced human labor. I cannot being to understand how angry he must have been, yet his focus after the war was on unification. He was so radical in his belief that all this ugliness needed to be put behind the American people, that he took extreme measures to get everyone moving forward.
I can’t imagine being strong enough to have that kind of forgiveness. I can’t imagine being able to so quickly let thousands of large land owners in the south return to their property, and lives, with only 10% of them admitting they did anything wrong or even need to do anything different in the future.
I don’t know of any evidence that Lincoln was a Christ follower. I do know he understood the value of forgiveness. By following his decisions you can tell that he believed forgiveness served not just the forgiven but also the forgiver.
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.