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Character and Power

Abraham Lincoln“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of US (1809 – 1865)

The greatest challenge to a leader is not just withstanding calamity, but what happens afterwards, when the rainbow comes after the rain. Long periods of suffering can instill humility in a person’s character, but it can also accumulate much bitterness and manifest itself in behaviors that shout to the world, when one is finally endowed with power and given honor and praise: “I deserve it!”

Therefore, Martin Luther believed character formation is not going from vice to virtue, but from vice and virtue to grace. Living on grace daily is the only remedy to our pretentious inclinations.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

Posted in Posts in English, Psychology, Spirituality.

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3 Responses

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  1. L says

    That quote reminds me of Spiderman 😛

  2. Anson says

    I believe the Spiderman quote is like: “With great power comes great responsibility.” But what undergirds one’s sense of responsibility? What compels us to be responsible?

    I believe it is an upright character sustained by a greater power beyond ourselves — and that is God’s grace.

  3. L says

    Amen to that.
    I think when Lincoln talked about “test of character”, he was referring to our ability to take up responsibility and act on it.