***The following is in no way an attempt to diminish or discount the pain that anyone has ever undergone or continues to undergo in their individual life***
Beloved Christian – we have been called to live a life to the glory of GOD (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)…“we” are so often the thing that keeps that from being maximized. If you’re a person (presumably if you’re reading this you are) you have been both on the ‘doing the hurting’ end as well as ‘being hurt’. Now in context, I’m really talking about emotional vs. physical hurt. Scripture is chocked full of verses reminding us all of our propensity to inflict pain on one another (Prov 18:21, Zech 13:6, Luke 6:28, Rom 7:15).
Why do we do this?
Because we all carry with us a fallen nature (Rom 5:12) and in our own actions will consistently get it wrong way more than we get it right with the things we do in this world. That’s a fact.
What should our response be?
If you’ve been hurt:
Being hurt or carrying around the wounds of a past hurt is straight up difficult…that’s a fact. There have been so many books that have been written on the topic you could fill a dedicated library. One of my best friend’s “business” is to assist people through this process. Maybe that’s the starting point to recognize and call out that it is a process. I don’t believe there is a standardized measure of time for how long the healing takes and there is a possibility that the very final measure of cure is dosed out to us as we take our first breath in Eternity (James 5:16, Rom 8:18, Rev 14:13, Rev 21:4).
Step 1 – Acknowledge the wound – how sad that so many of us will go through this existence unwilling to face the reality of something that is ailing us…standing in the way of us experiencing an optimal mental (or physical) health. If you had a physical cut and were bleeding you would do something about it…the same is true with an emotional hurt. To NOT acknowledge is to essentially go around in life allowing the “blood of your emotional hurt” to get on everybody and everything you encounter. It’s okay to bleed when you’re cut…it clearly is not in your best interest to go around indefinitely not tending to the wound.
Step 2 – Go to GOD – we simply cannot ‘will’ ourselves to do anything we want to…that’s a fact. In triaging how to deal with a wound in going to GOD we do so because we need His power to take the next step…forgiveness (Matt 6:14-15, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13). This is so much easier to say than to do, I understand. This is why we all need supernatural intervention to help us in being able to release our claim on the one who wounded us.
Step 3 – Living in peace – if you’ve ever been mauled by a pack of hyena pups at a petting zoo and were dumb enough to go back into the pen a second time that’s on you. Okay, joking aside the point is that sometimes we have to limit exposing ourselves to people that have hurt us in the past. We absolutely can forgive and experience a GOD-orchestrated healing…that is not synonymous with setting ourselves back up to be re-wounded. The ultimate marker of healing progress is when we in our heart-of-hearts reach a point where we genuinely want, desire, and even petition GOD to bless the one who wounded us (Matt 5:9, Rom 5:1, Rom 12:18, Rom 14:19).
When you’ve hurt others:
In my professional pursuits I have spent more than 24 years in a job and discipline with connections to fighting fraud. My experience has been that those with denial that their agencies/organizations have any fraud generally have it worse than anyone else. The same is true for those that would deny the hurt that they have inflicted on others…EVERYONE hurts others – that’s a fact.
Step 1 – Acknowledge the wound – GOD placed a mighty council of Christ-centered men in my life many decades ago and for the past 20 plus years the same handful of guys have walked with each other. A common topic amongst us has been humankind’s struggle up and down the ‘pride-humility’ continuum. All of us slide up and down this thing…sometimes closer to one end than the other. Pride will keep us from taking this step…it will turn down the knob and keep us from hearing GOD’s call to us to repent (Prov 11:2, Eph 4:2, James 4:6).
Step 2 – Go to GOD – have you ever been completely broken before GOD? That is supposed to be our response to His call to take responsibility for our actions and to come to Him. HE is the Great Physician and HE will heal and put back together those people that we have hurt. And at the same time, HE will also mend us in such a way that our experience isn’t wasted but that what we’d experienced ultimately is used to bring Him glory (Gen 50:20, Jer 30:17, Luke 19:10, Phil 4:6).
Step 3 – Living in peace – we are all works in progress on this side of Glory and in the process of becoming more and more like our Lord & Savior we are given chances to be further refined…to metaphorically have the “dross of pride” removed from ourselves and in so doing providing a purer reflection of Him (Mal 3:3). As the dust prayerfully settles on the other side of having gone through a difficult experience may we all remember examples of how the low moments in our lives can and are preparatory for things yet to come that will bring glory to GOD (John 21, Acts 4:13).
The past year has been a doozy for me. With total transparency I am more than confident that I have inflicted many hurts on people that I never, ever intended to hurt the way I have. I will not manufacture a rationale for my actions/words…I am sincerely sorry. I have gone to GOD, I have been on my face before Him in repentance, I have sought and continue to petition from Him healing in the lives of those (plural) that I’ve wounded. With His help, power, and presence in all of our lives may we all move forward in such a way that would honor and glorify Who He is, what He has done and that we remember indelibly the finished work of The Cross and Empty Tomb (1Cor 15:3-8) which provides us all the healing we so desperately need.
That’s a fact.
GBU – Psalm 147:3