Magnanimity comes from Latin: magnus – great + animus – soul = “great soul.” To have a great soul.
What a great word! Why don't we use it more? The desire to have a great soul should be at the core of what motives everyone who follows Jesus Christ. Doesn't something happen inside when you think about possessing a great soul?
Jesus displayed magnanimity on the cross. He persevered in harsh mistreatment yet prayed, "Father forgive them…."
Stephen displayed magnanimity at his stoning: He had the face of an angel and responded to his mistreatment with "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." To endure injustice while simultaneously responding in humble patience and trusting wisdom is the Christ-likeness we desire.
When Nelson Mandela invited his white jailer as a VIP guest to his inauguration as president of South Africa, and he invited the prosecutor of his trial to lunch, that was magnanimity.
The dictionary states that the quality of being magnanimous is - “loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity.”
Abolitionist author Harriet Beecher Stowe said, "What makes saintliness in my view, as distinguished from ordinary goodness, is a certain quality of magnanimity and greatness of soul that brings life within the circle of the heroic."
In this most difficult of times, let us think big and love greatly with joy and hope in our hearts.
Let's all try to be magnanimous today!