People are messy! Problems and conflicts are a “given” in relationships. We face situations and people that hurt us – AND we undoubtedly hurt others along the way as well.
I know my initial reaction is usually self-focus… stewing over what they said and/or what I said. Our minds begin to think and dwell and obsess on all the wrong things. When we’re feeling hurt and blaming others for that hurt, where is our focus?
I had a moment like that recently. Someone hurt my feelings and the more I dwelled on it, the more I was hurt and angry. I was totally self-consumed! God quickly reminded me that I was not to sit in judgment over anyone and that I was trying to step into His position. He is fully able to deal with his children's hearts. I needed to refocus on Him!
Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
When people hurt us, there are times to forgive and let it go quickly. There are also times when we need to be honest, go to that person in love, and let them know how they have hurt us. Additionally, we hurt others and need to be ready to respond with repentant hearts, listening to their hurt with love and understanding. Each situation looks different and it’s so important for us to pray through each one and search scripture for our Godly responses.
Matthew 18:15-17 - “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Philippians 2:1-4 - “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
I needed the reminder that my purpose here on earth is not to live a life free of problems… my purpose is to be like-minded with Christ and to be used by God for His "good purpose".
Pray for those who hurt you! Pray that God would help you as you walk through hurt, and that your actions would point others to Him. Pray for God to soften your heart so you will humbly see hurt you may have caused others. Forgive and release the poison of anger, bitterness, and resentment!
Check out these other scriptures to dig a little deeper…
Ephesians 4:2-4 - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
James 3:13-18 - “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 4:1-3,7-12 - What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures… Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Philippians 2:14-18 - Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.