How real love heals

On a recent Sunday morning, my friend Peter was dressed for church. But he didn't want to go. He was mad—at the world in general, and at a couple of people in particular. He started to phone a family member, but hung up before she answered. Why should he pass his crankiness along to someone else? That's when he decided: Yes, he would go to church. That was as good a place as any to get a grip.

By his own admission, Peter walked into that church looking for trouble. But a woman at the door said, "Good morning!"—and seemed genuinely glad he'd come. Then a man asked Peter what he thought about the football game last night. As he sat down, a woman smiled, and a man on the other side of the church waved.

Suddenly, Peter realized that something profound had just happened to him. He felt like a new man. A man tangibly loved by the people around him, and by God. A man who honestly wanted to return that love. He was healed of his anger—and the church service hadn't even started!

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February 10, 2003

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