“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
The one thing the world does not need more of? Hard-hearted people. There are too many people who are angry, who are hurtful, who are self-centered, and who do not care about others. Some of them might have been born more or less like that — there is a psychological term for such people — but most have allowed themselves to become that way because of the circumstances and experiences of their lives.
There are people who have gone through incredibly difficult moments and yet come through those moments with grace and dignity. They are shining examples to others of what can be done in the midst of adversity. Then, there are those who come out of difficult moments changed for the worse. They snap at others or shun others. Sometimes it is because of a rage that they nurture against others whom they claim made them who they are. Other times, it is because of a rage that they nurture against themselves for believing that they were too weak to endure their circumstances.
What happens to us might be largely out of our control. However, the manner in which we deal with what happens to us is totally in our control. If we decide that we are not going to allow the negativity of the world around us to impact us, we can be positive examples for others to see.
I know that this sounds so academic. This looks really easy as words on a monitor. And, yes, it is much more difficult to accomplish. But with the grace of God, nothing is impossible. Look at those who came out of concentration camps determined to spread hope and joy to others. Look at those who survive incredibly painful illnesses and spend their lives ministering to others who hurt. Look at those who suffer tragic grief and commit their lives to helping others who grieve.
It is possible to come through intensely difficult and painful situations intact. Not only intact, but to come through those situations with an even firmer resolve to embody goodness, peace, and love.
FAITH ACTION: If you are struggling with what is going on all around you, ask God to come into your heart and give you the grace that you need to be an example of hope and joy.