Have you been hurt by others? I sure have. Today, my friend Deana from Frugal Homeschooling Mom, shares 5 Verses that will help when you have been hurt by others.
A friend messaged me on Facebook tonight. We had a long conversation about some women in her church who had suddenly and without warning kicked her out of their Bible study fellowship group with a hateful email judging her of something for which she is innocent. My heart ached for her because of the pain that these “Christians” caused her. In talking to her I was reminded of Bible verses that comfort me whenever someone hurts me. I’d like to share them with you.
There are times when people will hurt you. You might get left out of the homeschool co-op. You might feel like you don’t quite fit in anywhere. You may gain some enemies over a choice you make that is what’s best for your family yet not accepted by some. A friend may get offended by something you unknowingly said or did, and refuses to talk to you anymore. You may not be able to reconcile your differences with someone you love. You may come to realize a friendship was only about what you could offer them. You may feel completely alone when you find out your child has special education needs. You may feel unaccepted, pre-judged or criticized unfairly by someone you truly wish to befriend. Your neighbor may suddenly turn her back on you and you may never fully understand why.
These are all common themes, and it seems almost everyone I know has had these things happen to them at some point in their life. It can seem overwhelming, and can bring great despair if you dwell on it. I am saddened by memories of my younger self, thinking these negative thoughts that brought me to the point of suicidal ideology and hating all Christians because of the way I perceived that they treated me. I thought they were all just hypocrites (after all, I was one, too). I struggled with thoughts of worthlessness, insecurity, doubt, and learned helplessness. I was once diagnosed with clinical depression, and when that diagnosis didn’t offer an answer, it was then speculated that I had OCD. I was 33 before I was completely healed, forgiven of my own sinfulness, and found peace. And it only came when I began to read my Bible, and hear God’s truth about me instead of looking to others for my self-worth and value.
Still, when I think back on the people who have hurt me, it stings. It brings tears to my eyes. And I miss the idea in my head of how I once believed those friendships were, or how I wished those relationships could have been. But then I realize that those relationships were not what I perceived them to be. The other person and I, were full of sinfulness that got in the way of having a healthy, God-honoring relationship. Sometimes that sinfulness put up a wall so high that there was no way to tear it back down or climb over it. If only we lived in a perfect world where there were no sin… ya know?
My point is, when you think all the time about how other people have hurt you, you cannot have true joy. You cannot find peace within if you dwell on what others think of you, or how others treat you, and don’t focus on God’s opinion of you. Your witness as a Christian can also suffer because you may feel inhibited in your ministry if you focus on the judgments and opinions of people instead of God’s purposes and calling on your life. There are so many times I haven’t written that blog post, haven’t taken action in ministry to others, or haven’t done something I needed to do to move forward on something I believed in, or have avoided social opportunities with friend groups, simply because of hurtful words or actions of others. It’s HARD. I do know very well, how truly hard it is.
I’m lucky to have found a few good, true Christian friends, in spite of all the hurt I’ve experienced in my life, and I pray that for you as well. I’ve formed these friendships over the test of time and trials, and I’m not saying they’ve never hurt me, but they are the ones who have stuck with me in my own sinfulness, and I’ve been able to fearlessly speak the truth in love to them when they’ve sinned. The cool thing about our friendship is that neither of us harbors resentment or judgment towards the other. We’ve reconciled when we’ve had differences, because we care about each other in true, Christ-like fashion, more than we care about judging each other’s sins. That’s the way true friendship should be.
These Bible verses always come to mind whenever I begin to feel hurt by others. They help me move forward and get on with my life with some scars, but with peace and a continuing love for others. I hope they offer you some comfort too. I shared them with my friend tonight, trying to encourage her not to give up on all Christians, or all churches, just because of the actions of a few.
Not all who say they are “Christian,” truly have a God-honoring heart attitude. Not all Christians are true followers of Christ and study God’s Word. Unfortunately, they may not even be saved. You can’t expect unregenerate people to treat you kindly or to relate in a Biblical manner – it’s just not possible without God’s power in them. So don’t be surprised when they do hurtful things. Don’t take it personally – there’s no point in it – besides, didn’t you just hurt someone yourself last week, and didn’t you feel terrible about it? Even true Christians still make mistakes. There’s no point in judging the mistakes/sins of others if they’ve hurt you, you don’t truly know where their heart stands with God for eternity.
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?… Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” ~Matthew 7:15-23
We all do hurtful things sometimes, and we all sin equally in the eyes of God. So remember to give people the grace you yourself need to receive, forgive them even if they don’t ask for it. We know our salvation, but do they truly know theirs? It’s so important that we forgive them and pray for them. Dwelling on it only hurts us and makes us miserable, lengthening our own suffering and pain. Forgive and forget, with or without them, and move on in the hope and peace that God gives you to keep your head up and smile.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” ~Phillipians 4:8-9
It also helps to see yourself as God sees you, just perfect. He loves you in spite of everything, and sees you as his beloved. NOTHING can take that away.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:35-39
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” ~Ephesians 1:4
Since we are God’s children, we long for sweet fellowship with others, a close “family” of other believers, who honor God through acts of kindness and grace to others and crave godly, genuine relationships. It’s just in our nature, because we are His. So, yes, it does cut deep when another “Christian” hurts us. When this happens, we must forgive and forget, and do our part to bring about the kingdom here on earth, loving on those few and true friendships, and not wavering in our faith and witness to others because of the hurtfulness of a few. And one day, real soon, we WILL get to see that world of perfect glory that He’s prepared for us, in which there is NO hurtfulness.
“we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” ~Titus 2:13