What do you do with your pain? What do you do when someone hurts you? How do you react when, out of nowhere, someone becomes Mr. Hyde? What do you say when someone makes you feel insignificant…again? It’s hard isn’t it? Especially when it comes from someone close to you.
Just as when incurring a physical injury, our first instinct is to recoil from what is causing us pain. No one keeps their hand in the fire once they have been burned. Its normal to draw back from pain. But once we recover from the shock, realize what has happened and access the damage, then what?
Should we confront the person who has hurt us? Should we retaliate? Would telling others about it help? Should we ostracize them? What should we do with our pain?
If it is possible to approach the person to discuss the situation as two mature individuals, then of course we should try to resolve the issue. But what if we can’t go to the person that has hurt us and confront them? What if they are unreasonable? What if we do approach them but they only blame us for the situation or deny responsibility and never apologize; causing more pain? What then?
Initially we have a couple of choices to make: we could either lash out in anger, making things worse, or remain calm, letting the incident go, until we have had time to think things through. Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
When we don’t know what to do we should always go to God in prayer to ask for help and go to His word for guidance. Just like a good father, God always knows what’s best.
Unfortunately, God seldom gives us a convenient or comfortable way out of this sort of dilemma. He usually asks us to do something that is completely contrary to normal human behavior. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
In these painful situations our human nature wants to retaliate, speak negatively about the person to others, shun them and refuse to forgive them. But that’s not how God says we should handle these types of situations.
Instead of retaliating against a person, Jesus instructs us to love them, do good to them and pray for them. Luke 6:32-33, 35 Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? But love your enemies, do good to them.” Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Instead of telling others about a person’s hurtful ways, tarnishing their reputation, God’s word tells us to show love towards them by remaining quiet about what they’ve done. Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. 1Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Instead of shunning a person who mistreats us, God tells us to make peace with them and treat them well. Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Luke 6:31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Instead of refusing to forgive those who inflict pain, God tells us to…you guessed it; forgive them. Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
These are all very difficult tasks. When I am faced with a challenging assignment, I often remind myself that it may be tough but it’s not impossible. With God all things are possible [Matthew 19:26]! Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Through the power of God’s Spirit we can accomplish God’s will.
What if we remain quiet about the person’s hurtful deeds or words, pray for them, do good to them, forgive them and make peace with them but we still have a broken heart? What if after all of that we are still hurting? What then?
We continue doing what God has told us to do in His word and trust Him to heal our broken hearts. We do our part and God always does His part. Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
God’s instructions may be difficult but they do not go without reward. The rewards of obedience to God and His word are blessing and spiritual growth. Psalm 128:1 blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to Him. Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
When I find it grueling to follow God’s instructions on what to do when someone hurts me, I remember what Jesus did and said while He was being mistreated in the hours before He was put to death. First He washed Judas’ feet knowing Judas would soon betray Him. During His “so called trial” many false accusations were made against Him but He did not defended Himself. Jesus was beaten, mocked and whipped and never complained. He had committed no sin or wrong and yet did not resist being nailed to a cross. And, after all of that, before dying, He prayed for those who had hurt Him saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do [Luke 23:34].”
No matter what anyone has done to you or me, we have never endured the sort of pain, rejection or humiliation that Jesus has endured. He had every right to defend Himself or retaliate the wrong that had been done to Him but instead He chose to forgive. How much more should we?
Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.