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Past regret put to rest

Philippa Smale takes a look at some of the Proverbs from the Bible

'Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up' (Proverbs 12:25 New International Version)

Some people carry around huge burdens of anxiety

EDITH was an elderly person affected by dementia. She lived in a care home and spent most of her days wandering around saying: ‘What have I done? What have I done?’ Her permanent feelings of anxiety disturbed the other residents and the staff. There was obviously something painful on Edith’s mind that no amount of reassurance could ease.

She did not have many relatives, but the staff tracked down a cousin and asked her if she could shed any light on what Edith was so anxious about.

‘I think it must be something that hap­pened during the war,’ the cousin explained. ‘Her fiancé wanted to get married before he went overseas, but she said no. He didn’t come back. He died in Singapore. It weighed on her mind for years, but we thought she’d got over it.’

Knowing that, the staff found they could comfort Edith by saying that her fiancé had forgiven her a long time ago and that she didn’t need to worry any more.

Some people carry around with them huge burdens of anxiety which weigh down their hearts. A kind word may not remove the source of anxiety, or solve any problems caused by it, but it does show that someone is listening – that someone cares.

In one of the letters he wrote to early Christians, the disciple Peter said: ‘Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7 New International Version).

Being a Christian does not mean that people are exempt from worries and prob­lems – if anyone seriously thought that, there would be queues to get into churches. What it does mean, though, is that there is support, love and understanding available from an always-present and unfailing God. Sharing our anxieties with God may not remove them, but it does make them lighter to carry.

And sometimes God uses his followers to reach out with a kind word and helping hand to show other people just how much he cares for them.

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