Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Wisdom of Winthrop

In my History I read about John Winthrop, who was the founder and governor of Massachusetts in the 1600's. I was impressed with some of what it said about him, so I wanted to quote the book here:

"He was a man of great wisdom. When another of the leading men in the colony wrote him an angry letter, he sent it back, saying that 'he was not willing to keep such a provocation to ill-feeling by him.' The writer of the letter answered, 'Your overcoming yourself has overcome me.'"
- A History of the United States and Its People by Edward Eggleston, page 43

This stood out to me. How often we hold something against someone else and keep feeding ourselves with negativities about someone, which continues to feed our anger and bitterness. Here, Winthrop chose not to dwell on what the other man had said-- in fact, he chose to not even put himself in the position to become bitter-- and this self-control and wisdom that he showed was more effective than if he had reacted in the flesh and blown up. Let us remember this as we interact with people throughout the day. Let us not hold things against others and dwell on wrongs done to us; instead let us go on in the love and kindness of our Lord, responding as Christ would respond and not "giv[ing] place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). Maybe it can also be said of us, "Your overcoming yourself [through Christ!] has overcome me."

No comments: