Last November, believing that they were living on the wrong side of history, the editors of the Harrisburg Patriot and Union newspaper retracted an important editorial that had been first printed in 1863.
Their retraction read in part, “Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives.
We write today in reconsideration of the ‘Gettysburg Address,’ delivered by then President Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the greatest conflict seen on American soil. Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln’s words ‘silly remarks’ believing it an indifferent and altogether ordinary message, unremarkable in eloquence and uninspiring in its brevity.
In the fullness of time, we have come to a different conclusion. No mere utterance, then or now could do justice to the soaring heights of language Mr. Lincoln reached that day.”
Calling the Gettysburg Address “silly remarks” was a major goof. But if we stop to think about it, you and I often make equally dumb remarks everyday.
James was trying to help us with his comments in James 1:19. “My dear brothers and sisters; take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
“Quick to listen, slow to speak”… that would have been great advice for the editors of the Patriot and Union back in 1863 and it still is for us today.
So this week let’s all take a deep breath before we offer an opinion on the events of the day. Let’s do our due diligence before we make conclusions and pass them loudly along. It might help us avoid a major retraction 150 years from now!
By His Grace and For His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel