Abraham Lincoln (1809 -1865)

One of America’s greatest politicians and most respected and beloved personalities, Abraham Lincoln, was the sixteenth president of the United States from 1861 to 1865.

His story is a remarkable one. He was born into a humble family with illiterate parents. He had hardly any formal education, spending less than 12 months attending school as a youth. Later he began to study law books in his spare time. He was almost totally self-educated and became a lawyer in 1836, although he never attended college.

While president, Lincoln led his country through the Civil War, the costliest war in the history of the United States, preserving the Union. He fought for equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Those difficult and bloody times led to the abolition of slavery.

President Lincoln endured great pressures during the long Civil War—generals  not willing to fight, huge losses of life on the battlefields, assassination threats. But he carried on. He remained brave and persevered, not stopping the war until the goals were achieved.

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that as of January 1, 1863, all enslaved people in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” It did not immediately free slaves, but legal freedom for all slaves in the United States came with the final passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in December of 1865. But Lincoln was assassinated before its final enactment.

Abraham Lincoln’s approach to leadership during those tough times: “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

With the belief that he was doing God’s will, he managed to lead his nation through a long bloody war and to the abolition of slavery. That’s the kind of faith that gave Lincoln the strength he needed to persevere. That God-given strength is what all of us need when speaking out for what is right. Because there will be opposition from those who would rather keep things the way they are.

Shouldn’t we always let God and his Word lead us when we’re waging battles against social injustice? What does God’s will mean when looking at equal rights and freedom in these modern times?

Jesus’ example will teach us what is right and wrong. He will help us recognize the injustices that much of society has been overlooking.

Jesus’ life showed how he treated outcasts in his time. In this modern world, we still have outcasts—one segment being those who live with mental illness. Jesus taught us how such individuals should be treated. He accepted them as people worthy of spending time with. Worthy of listening to. Worthy of encouraging. Worthy of being part of their communities.

From Jesus we learned that we all have equal worth and should be treated that way.


This has been Part 3 of the series A Voice of One Calling. Read Part 4 – Mahatma Gandhi.