This is a great quote by Abraham Lincoln but I also think taking away someone’s power, hope, and purpose may perhaps be an even greater way to test their character.
Oftentimes, though we may deny it, we do good things for the good we receive in return. There is nothing wrong with this but the true test of doing good is when nothing is received. To risk living rightly, going the extra mile, loving the unlovable and experiencing nothing but scorn, derision, rejection is a true test of who we are and why we do what we do.
To face loss, deprivation, spurning, even emotional, spiritual or physical death and still choosing to do the ethical, moral, honorable thing reveals our true motivation.
“When you pick up one end of the stick you also pick up the other end.” Choices. Consequences.
Several months ago a young man shared with me how his story of addiction began. A simple question; “Could he jump over one of the cement posts that stand outside of almost every Walmart store?” He couldn’t. A bad choice and a misjudging of how tall these posts actually are resulted in a shattered forearm and an addiction to pain pills a couple of years later. “If only I’d ignored the impulse to try to hurdle that post, impress my friends, make someone laugh, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Choices. Consequences.
Our choices determine our destiny. What we choose today is who we are tomorrow. May we never forget the power of a decision.