Sep. 28th, 2017 | Rev. Don Underwood
1.Generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: to be magnanimous toward one’s enemies.
2.High-minded; noble: a just and magnanimous ruler.
3.Proceeding from or revealing generosity or nobility of mind, character, etc.: a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness. (Dictionary.com)
It is a beautiful word, one of the best in the English language. It evokes the virtues of generosity, kindness, big-heartedness.
Several years ago I read Jon Meacham’s wonderful book, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. In a striking passage about Churchill he described him as a leader who was known, by friend and foe alike, for his magnanimity. Meacham said that Churchill could stay up till the wee hours of the night bitterly debating war policy or strategy, but would descend the stairs the next morning and greet his opponent with utterly genuine warmth and sincerity. He simply did not hold a grudge. This description of Churchill is weaved so brilliantly into the story that one cannot miss the point that it was a virtue that enabled Churchill to create the remarkable alliances, especially with Roosevelt and the U.S., that saved the world from tyranny.
As far as I know, the word “magnanimity” shows up only once in the Bible, and in only one translation. Along with many others, I am an admirer and regular reader of the 4th chapter of Philippians. The 5th verse in that chapter is generally translated as, “Let your gentleness be known to all.” I have an old New English version that translates that verse as “Let your magnanimity be manifest to all.” I’m no Greek scholar and have no idea which translation is more accurate, but I know which I prefer.
Speaking for myself, a spirit of magnanimity has always been a somewhat elusive goal. It is simply so much easier to hold on to and cherish one’s grudges, nurturing them with countless mental replays of what went down and how you have been so unnecessarily injured. There is a certain emotional satisfaction that derives from that strategy. But ultimately, whether we are trying to save the world or simply save ourselves, the quest for magnanimity appears to be abundantly more fruitful. Paul got it right: “Let your magnanimity be manifest to all.”
This weekend is Fall Fest! Join us for an afternoon of family fun at the pumpkin patch from 12 – 2 PM. We’ll have face painting, Critterman, obstacle courses, antique cars and so much more. We can’t wait to see you and your family!