"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." Proverbs 12:25 (ESV)
When I was very young, maybe four or five years old, we lived next door to an elderly couple. Mr. Haynes was outdoors a lot and my father would talk with him whenever he would see him. When Mr. Haynes would see me and/or my brother, he would give us permission to go in his house to see Mrs. Haynes.
This lovely lady would be sitting in her favorite chair and seemed thrilled to see us. There was always a bowl of candy next to her and she would offer some to us. I can't exactly remember her face or her voice, but I remember her pink, fluffy bath robe and, more importantly, how she made me feel which was warm and welcome.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million American adults are affected by anxiety disorders. This comprises 36.9 percent of the population. And, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 4.4 million children between the ages of 3-17 have diagnosed anxiety and 1.9 million children of the same age have diagnosed depression.
These are overwhelming figures. So many are weighed down by all that is going on their personal lives as well as in this nation. While many find some relief through medicinal means, some do not. Is there anything that we can do to help?
The verse for today tells us that a good word brings gladness to an anxious heart. We can start by being aware of, and truly caring about, the people around us. The love of Jesus is something to be shared. The comfort and direction that we have found in Him should bubble over, thus drawing others in.
People need kindness. They need genuine concern and caring. Each encounter we make is a chance to offer encouragement. The Bible tells us that we are the salt and light in a flavorless and dark world. We are supposed to make a difference. In order to do that, we, as Christians, need to make sure we have a right relationship with the Lord so that we will be equipped to to minister to the needs of those around us.
I remember how Mrs. Haynes made me feel. I also remember how my bullies made me feel. Guess which memory I treasure most. That is the kind of lasting impression we should be making in the lives that cross our paths. We should take advantage of each opportunity we are given to leave an impression of God's love. It only takes a moment and it just may change a person's day or life. You just never know. God bless.