By Lance Cordle
People who saw the animated feature film “Beauty and the Beast” will undoubtedly remember the song with the same title as the movie, performed by Peabo Bryson and Celine Dion. Since that time, the name of Celine Dion has been related to great music and her voice has been admired by many people. She has performed concerts throughout the world and sold millions of records. It has not been unusual to hear her name in the news over the past few years as well. In December of 2022, Celine announced she had been diagnosed with the rare disorder known as Stiff-Person Syndrome. It is a painful neurological disorder and there is no cure for it. Celine is fifty-eight years old and her career is in jeopardy because of this condition. In fact, numerous concerts she had planned for the coming months have had to be cancelled.
What is interesting to observe is the fact that most people would easily describe Celine Dion as a privileged and successful person, and have been shocked to learn that she is dealing with such a serious disorder. However, what this situation reveals is that everyone, including celebrities, deals with some sort of serious personal issue on a daily basis. As you greet the first person in your list of encounters of the day, it would not be unheard for that person to have a serious illness, a death in the family, or an emotional or physical handicap. Many other possibilities could be given and various ones with whom you come into contact daily would be dealing with them.
Job is of course correct in his assessment of the human condition “Man who is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). No doubt, we are aware of our own issues and troubles, and want people to be kind to us in their interactions with us. Why not return the favor and assume that everyone you meet is in the process of dealing with emotional or physical trauma and treat them with kindness?
If you knew the cashier at the grocery store had just experienced the death of a loved one, would you not treat them with courtesy and consideration? If you knew that your supervisor or employer had just been diagnosed with cancer, would you be as quick to criticize them? If you knew your coworker was in a troubled marriage, would you be cruel in your treatment of them?
Long ago, Jesus gave us the perfect way to deal with people who are facing personal crises. It is “built” for the possibility of encountering someone who is hurting. Here is the formula: “So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them . . .” (Matthew 7:12)
We call it the Golden Rule and it still works . . . for everyone.
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com