For my write-up today on volume 2 of Richard Nixon's memoirs, I'll use as my starting-point something that Nixon says on page 382. The context is Bill Rogers' (whom I presume is this guy) advice to President Nixon that Nixon's aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, should resign.
asked [Rogers] if he would convey this to Haldeman and Ehrlichman for
me. He said that he did not think his relationship with them was good
enough to do that----nor even objective enough...There had been some
bitterness between them after the election during the reorganization,
and he was concerned that they might feel that he was bringing personal
feelings to the task."
This passage actually made me feel better,
to tell you the truth! The reason is that I have bitterness towards
others, and there are people who don't particularly like me. This
passage reminded me that this is the case with a lot of people: that
even people who are socially-competent have personality conflicts, for a
variety of reasons.
I suppose that I could put on a Christian
mantel and criticize Bill Rogers for being enemies with anyone. After
all, aren't we commanded to love everyone, to be at peace with
everyone? If we were truly Christ-like, would not people be drawn to
us? Wouldn't we get along with everyone? Well, not necessarily, for
it's often said in the New Testament that Christians will have conflict
with people, not because Christians are seeking it out, but rather
because people may not like what the Christians are doing and saying!
But I don't want to get bogged down in that topic!
Rather, what I
want to say is that I admire how Bill Rogers handled this situation.
Sure, he was not perfect, for he had a bitter relationship with Haldeman
and Ehrlichman. But he did not allow his bitterness to be the
determining factor in how he would act in a given situation. He could
have marched right over to Haldeman and Ehrlichman, told them that the
President wanted them to resign, and gloated, getting satisfaction out
of the fall of his enemies. But he didn't do that. Rogers could step
back, take a fairly objective look at the situation, and conclude that
he was not the right person to approach Haldeman and Ehrlichman, that he
could make matters worse were he to do so.
I think that it is good to
overcome bitterness, and it's even better to be friends with everyone.
But things don't always work out that way. In such cases, perhaps we
can acknowledge our bitterness, while also refusing to let our
bitterness rule our actions. Rogers, for example, put other people's
good above his own bitterness.
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