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"Better to Give Your Path to a Dog" - - Rev. Weldon Bares

I recently read an excellent book about Abraham Lincoln and leadership. A chapter in the book focused on Lincoln’s views about personal resentment.

In 1864, he spoke to Gustavus V. Fox, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, about conflict. He said, “You have more of the feeling of personal resentment that I. Perhaps I may have too little of it, but I never thought it paid. A man has not time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him.”

The book also highlighted a strong rebuke that Lincoln made to Captain James M. Cutts in October of 1863. The captain had been arguing with and verbally abusing fellow officers. This was creating a problem, so the president told Curtis to make a point of not quarreling at all.

He said to the captain: “No man resolved to make the most of himself, can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take all the consequences, including the loss of self-control. Better to give your path to a dog, than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite.” (Lincoln on Leadership, Donald T. Phillips, page 82)

Scripture says it like this: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger . . .” (Ephesians 4:31) Good advice for all of us.

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