‘Hurt people hurt people’.* The cycle of abuse, a phrase most of us are familiar with, assumes many forms.

The shape changes, but outcome does not. Self abuse, spouse abuse, child abuse, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, greed, cynicism, narcissism, self righteousness, sociopathic behavior, the litany goes on and on. In my hurt, I have hurt myself and others. Sometimes by forming hardened opinions of others I did not even know. Sometimes by careless words or worse intentional jabs. Sometimes by not sharing when I had enough. Sometimes by allowing fear of condemnation keep me from speaking up for someone else who needed a friend.

‘Hurt people hurt people.’ Or even the reverse ‘What goes around comes around.’ As if the boomerang effect heals the hurt, when all of us who have experienced hurt at the hands or the tongue or the actions of others, know that it does not. ‘Round and Round we go and where we stop nobody knows.’

What if, rather than perpetuating the cycles of life that damage heart, mind, body and soul, I truly accept the forgiveness offered to me by Jesus Christ and pass it on. Oh, I have, but as Paul wrote as long as I am in this flesh there is a battle going on. But WHAT IF

Forgiven people forgive people…including themselves?

Loved people love people…including themselves?

What if ‘Round and round we go’ loops others in, rather than shutting them out? The hard part of this comes when I realize that means I need to take a kinder view of the most offensive people in my world. It means not letting others attitudes or opinions keep me from showing them respect.

*From a sermon by our pastor in Kentucky, Dan Saunders.