Have you ever been really hurt by someone you love? Yeah, me too! It stinks, doesn’t it? When we love others, it makes us vulnerable, and sometimes we get hurt. We live in a fallen, broken, sinful world. People will disappoint us, they will fail us, and they will hurt us, and this is particularly the case when we are hurt by those we love most.
This week I encountered a woman who was deeply wounded by her adulterous now ex-husband, and her father who divorced her mother to marry a woman who was younger than she was. Those are the people that we least expect to hurt us. Our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends, the people we attend church with are the ones we expect to love us, and never hurt us. But they do.
When we are hurt by others our flesh wants to lash out in some visceral way. We want to share our hurts with others in hopes that we will find answers to our pain. If we receive wise counsel it can help us to process our feelings and emotions, and point us to Jesus. Faithful friends will be sure to pray with us and for us.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 ESV
We need to be cautious who we share our hurts with because if we receive the wrong counsel it can further provoke us to foolishness, anger, wrath, and malice. We are responsible for ourselves, and we can not control the actions or emotions of others.
What should we do when we are deeply wounded by others?
First, we should pray!
Lay your worries and cares at the foot of the cross, because Jesus cares for us.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:6-8 ESV
From these verses in 1 Peter we are first told to humble ourselves, and cast all of our worry, concern and cares on Jesus because he cares for us. He loves us so much that he laid his life down for us that we might be saved.
In Psalms 46:1 we are told, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Second, we must choose to forgive.
Sometimes in our flesh, this is impossible to do. My heart was broken this week when I heard about a friend whose special needs son, who reminds me of my Connor, was horribly mistreated by his aid worker at school. Or another friend whose child was sexually abused by a classmate at school. It is situations like these that make forgiveness unthinkable, unfathomable, without the help of God.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, – Matthew 6:14 ESV
When we are unable to forgive, we must seek God to supernaturally forgive through us.
When we choose to forgive others who have wounded us, we are partaking in the mysteries of God. Jesus was despised, wounded, and rejected on our behalf. A man acquainted with sorrows. Who is our great high priest!
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV
We can boldly enter the throne of grace and draw near to Jesus who understands our frailty and our humanity where we may obtain mercy and grace in our times of trouble! We do not serve a God who is far off, but one is who is near.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18 ESV
Thirdly, we must choose to love.
When the disciples asked Jesus about the greatest commandment, this is what he said.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
We are to love God, and love others.
Even when they hurt us? YES!
What about when they hurt the ones we love? YES!
When they are our enemies? YES, even then.
What is impossible with man, is possible with God. We must choose to pray and seek God in times of trouble. Forgive those who have wounded us, and decide to love.