THIS week's community column comes from local minister Rev Ian Miller.

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THERE must be few of us who are exactly as we were this time last year.

There are one or two, the deniers, those who believe the conspiracy theories, those who are careless about their behaviour and the possible effect on others. But most of us, I think, have changed in the way we think and behave.

It has inspired some to look out for others, but it has caused others to look for faults in the government, in their neighbours, and even in their friends.

Mistakes have been made by all of us but as restrictions begin to lift, now is surely a good time to put the past behind us and start afresh.

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I was sent a video recently called “The transformative power of classical music”. It’s a talk by the English musician and conductor Benjamin Zander. It’s on YouTube. You should listen to it if you like classical music – or even if you don’t. It’s funny, it’s poignant, and it makes a lot of sense. Stick with it, especially to the very end.

Mr Zander is a man of passion. Passion for music, and passion for people. He closed by telling a story which I found challenging regarding the way I speak and the words I use.

He spoke of a woman who survived Auschwitz and told him her story. She was 15 at the time, and her younger brother was only eight. They had lost their parents and they were on a train travelling to Auschwitz.

Suddenly she looked down and saw that her brother’s shoes were missing. “How can you be so stupid?” she ranted. “Can’t you keep your things together, for goodness’ sake?”

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Then she said: “That was the last thing I ever said to my brother, because he did not survive.”

When she came out of Auschwitz, as she walked from death into life, she made a vow, and this was it: “I will never say anything to anyone that could not stand as the last thing I would ever say to them.”

It is my experience that right now many people are fragile. Words can hurt.

Jesus once said: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Can I be so bold to say that I think today he might even add: “and speak to each other in ways you would like to be spoken to.”

That, then, is the challenge. For all of us.