There’s something important to remember in the quest for strength and courage, and that’s a spirit of kindness. Too often we teach our children the verse, “Be kind one to another” (Eph. 4:32 RSV), and then we forget the admonition as adults. True forgiveness and kindness are cut from the same cloth; it is impossible to demonstrate one without declaring the other.
It’s interesting that the word kind comes from the Old English cynd for kin or family — a place where kindness is too often in such short supply. It’s within the home where we first learn to recognize important familial boundaries, and where we develop a deep respect for others. Yet how especially difficult it is to embrace those people associated with ghostly encounters from our past.
If it is difficult for you to be kind to those who have hurt you, consider praying this prayer:
Keep me, O God, from pettiness; let me be large in thought, in word, in deed. As I look into my past with its pain and fear, may I see my hurt through the eyes of love. Let me be done with faultfinding and leave off self-seeking. May I put away all pretense and meet others face to face — without self-pity and without prejudice. May I never be hasty in my judgement, but generous. Let me take time for all things; make me grow calm, serene, gentle. You did not create me to be burned out and exhausted but to be an effective person who does your bidding. Teach me to put into action my better impulses, straightforward and unafraid. Grant that I may realize that it is the little things that create great differences, that in the big things of life we are as one. And, O Lord God, help me to recognize that if I would be strong again, I just remember always to be loving and kind. Amen.
Your road to becoming strong again must work through the whole series of past storms that have wreacked havoc on your body, soul, and spirit. But the good news is that now you know your weathered those storms; they helped you grow in ways that you were not even aware, and they have shaped you into the person you have no become.
Often it’s only when our eyes have been washed clear with buckets of tears that we will ever get a handle on the larger vision for ourselves and our place in the world. Although you may never fully understand why or how the storms of your past have freshened the air you breathe today, you can find a healthy, new perspective that grants you the freedom to:
- Take time to think; it is the source of your power.
- Take time to play; it is the secret of your youth.
- Take time to read; it is the foundation of your knowledge.
- Take time to dream; it will take you to the stars.
- Take time to laugh; it really is your best medicine.
- Take time to pray; it is your touch with almighty God.
- Take time to reach out to others; it will give your life significance.
Make your life prime time, and be ready to expect God to give you a hundredfold return as you exorcise the ghosts from your past and see old challenges with adult eyes. Take one step closer to becoming strong again.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 37 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.