Last Sunday our church did a wonderful teaching on the movie adaptation of the classic Dr. Suess story “The Grinch.” The heart of the teaching and the story is that only kindness, forgiveness, and love can heal a broken heart.

This leads me to think more about how our world, culture, society, and communities are becoming more and more polarized and divided. We are bombarded with picking a side, us vs. them, or “I’m right, you’re wrong.” This leads to more angst, distress, and for many can create severely isolated lives. When we become closed off to understanding each other, we will also become closed off to having compassion for one another. This cultivates fear. Fear of others. Fear of being seen or known. Fear that I might not be right. Fear that things will never be ok. But fear isn’t an end in of itself. The real aim of fear is destruction and suffering. This reminds me of the great quote by, of all characters, Yoda, “Fear Leads To Anger. Anger Leads To Hate. Hate Leads To Suffering.”

We need help to confront our fears. We need support and validation to move past fear. We need to be brave and ask for help when we feel isolated. We need to risk and humble ourselves and confront our brokeness. Because, usually, on the other side of these scary things, something great awaits. Growth. Connection. Healing. Restoration.

Consider ways we allow the bad things that have happened to us to rule and identify who we are, like the Grinch. We can allow the hardness and pain to dictate our every thought, word and deed. However, there is an alternative. We can choose to be brave in the face of fear. We can choose humility, love, life, healing, forgiveness, and connection.

If you find yourself alone, hurting, or trapped in shame, reach out for help, whether it be a professional or an old friend. Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it. Volunteer where others are in need. Resist the temptation to remain stuck.

We can be like the Grinch or we can be like Cindy Lou Who. Consider what happened when she forgave the Grinch and invited him over for Christmas dinner: “Narrator: And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!”

So as we dive deeper into the Christmas season be the love in the room. Be the light, the encourager, the peacemaker. Be the patient person in line at the store or when driving. And remember “What we starve will die, what we feed will grow.” Feed kindness. Feed forgiveness. Feed patience. Feed self-worth. Feed connection. Feed compassion. Feed love. Make conscious choices to not allow yourself to feed lies, fear, anger or hatred.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Andrew Heinz

LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)

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