Throughout these last 3 weeks, I've heard some unbelievable stories of abuse, pain, and hopelessness. Some of the people that I've been in group with has suffered through such amazing abuse I just don't know how they held it together long enough to live as long as they did. And my guess is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, more people walking around in our daily lives - cashiers, bank tellers, joggers, that lady that smiles at you at the mall and then the one that gives you the nasty stare - that are harboring pasts quite similar to those I've heard this week.
One thing I've learned is that, unfortunately, it seems that previous childhood abuses of all kinds, alcoholism, and drug addiction within the family, and other hurts are really common. I'm not saying that all of our parents sucked, but what I am saying is that it seems rare to come across someone my age these days that had an idyllic childhood and that follows them their entire life.
While I had some terrible experiences in my life, there are plenty of people out there that have gone through a lot more than me. And they have persevered. They may be broken and trying desperately to heal, but they have not given up on life. Many of these people have a strong spiritual side to lean on. They are relying on Jesus to carry them.
So the next time that angry driver cuts you off or your co-worker annoys you to the ends of the earth, remember that there may be things in their life that are worse than you could ever imagine. Or perhaps they are just having a bad day/week/year and unfortunately, you got in the way. Remember that Jesus taught us to love and turn the other cheek and that most people that are suffering are doing so alone, with no psychological help, not knowing how to talk to their families about it, and just trying to get by the best way that they know how.
James 1:12 - Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.