There are many people today who have been treated poorly. They feel beaten up, mishandled, treated badly, crushed, and trampled on. When someone's been treated like that, they begin to believe that they aren't worth much. If they were, why would anyone treat them like that?
Maybe you've been betrayed, abused, abandoned, or deeply hurt by people you should have been able to trust and it's hard for you to trust anyone. You've been hurt too often. That's Gal's story, too.
Most dogs are pretty aggressive in meeting strangers by coming right up to you, maybe even on you, but not Gal. She retreats when she sees people. She cowers and she trembles because she had been severely abused by several previous owners before she came to a safe home. She has a hard time even trusting people who want to treat her right, but she's missing a lot of loving that way. Wounded, afraid to trust, and missing a lot of love - that's not just the life story of abused dogs, it's the life story of millions of people.
Every time you sing the Christmas carol, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," you sing the words, "Peace on earth and mercy mild." If you ever watch the news or read a newspaper, you may well be asking, "Whatever happened to peace on earth?" That's a very good question. The terrorism danger for Americans is high. One national correspondent expressed on television what a whole lot of people are feeling. He said, "I have never in my lifetime seen such a high degree of threat to our personal security." Throw in dangers that you may be facing personally, such as medical or financial dangers, and you might wonder where the peace is that Christmas is supposed to be about.
Maybe there's a strained relationship in your life right now, and there have been too many sunsets and bad feelings toward someone. The problem is probably bigger than it used to be, but right now is the smallest it will ever be. This issue will never be easier to address than right now, no matter how hard that might seem to you. It's only going to get harder. It's only going to get more costly, and you'll only turn darker inside.
It's no fun having your car totaled or to have your life totaled, especially at Christmas. In the midst of all the joy and excitement, maybe the Christmas season finds you wounded and hurting. Divorce, disaster, death, depression, and disappointment hurt anytime, but especially at Christmas.
Have you ever had some stubborn stains on your favorite clothes or your nice tablecloths, and you wish they could look as good as new?. On a rare occasion, you can actually get those stains out and say, "It's finally clean. It's been washed, treated, and all the dirty spots came out!"
Maybe one of the greatest gifts you could ever be given is a dumpster. You might currently have so much stuff that you wouldn't want to ever think about the process of moving. If you only could get rid of what you've hung onto for so long.
About 35 years ago, the world was rocked by the murders of five American missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador. It was front-page news everywhere, and even major photo coverage in Life magazine. A young man named Jim Elliot and four other young men had gone to minister to the Auca Indians, a group of people who were about to kill each other off in their hostility. One scientist called this tribe the worst people on earth.