Posted by: Alicia | January 11, 2009

What to Do When Someone Hurts Us

Everyone, at some time in their life, has been slighted or hurt by someone they’ve met, or someone that is a friend or family member. It happens to all of us. The only question, though is how we handle it. Do we carry a grudge, possibly seeking revenge, or do we let it fester until the hurt and pain becomes a seeping wound in our heart? After all, isn’t that what the media tells us we should do? How many movies are out there that are based upon one theme; revenge? Revenge is sweet; the saying goes.

But what did Christ have to say about this subject? Well, that is exactly what I’m going to write to you about today, dear reader; Christ’s teaching about what we should when someone hurts us.

In Luke 6:20 – 49, are two teachings; “the Beatitudes” and the “Builders and Foundations”. Both these teachings go hand in hand, and are meant to be a sort of “blue print” for how we should live our lives. Normally I would take you through the entire passage, but today I want to focus on just verses 27 – 38, and then 46 – 49.

“Love Your Enemies”

In the world we are taught that revenge is good, and almost expected. After all, if someone slights you or does something to harm you, then by all means you have the right to get back at them. However, that is just the opposite of what Jesus taught starting in verse 27:

6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

If someone does something to me that is mean, or demeaning, or is abusive, my first reaction is to want to lash back out at them; to make them feel as bad as I feel. But I have learned that that is just the opposite of what I should do. Instead, if I take the time to pray for them, asking God to bless them, provide for all their needs, meet them where they are at, and bring them into a relationship with Him, then whatever it is in their life that made them treat me the way they did will be taken care of. And in turn, they become a better person, and in the long run may treat me, and all those around them, better.

I know, this is a very difficult thing to do. After all, isn’t it much easier to just be angry with them and ignore them? Perhaps even write them out of our life? The problem with that is that the anger then festers and grows within us, causing us to start to feel bad about people and even ourselves. For me this is the natural result of letting others’ anger become my own. My self-image becomes damaged, and the natural reaction is then to start pulling away from others, or even, much worse, expect others to fill the emptiness that has formed as a result.

In the long run, harboring anger and resentment does more damage to us than it does to those who hurt us in the first place. The easier thing to do then, is to do as Christ taught and pray for them. And if we can’t love them, ask God to help us see them through His eyes, and to love them as He does. Believe me, this works so much better than being angry.

“Don’t expect it back”

Another thing that is difficult is letting go of something that has been taken from us; be it a personal item that was stolen from us, or a gift that we have given, silently expecting something in return. Christ again has something very profound to say about both these things in verses 29 – 35:

29 “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat; do not withhold your shirt from him either.”

30 “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.”

31 “And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.”

32 “And if you love those who love you, what credit it is to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.”

34 “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.”

35 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

So, according to Jesus, if someone robs us, don’t try to get it back. Let it go. They may have needed it more than we did. And if someone hits us, don’t hit them back, just turn and offer them your other cheek. They won’t know what to make of it, and will most likely be humbled and walk away.  And most importantly, don’t give anything to anyone expecting something in return. If you lend something to someone, don’t expect it back. If you give money to someone, don’t expect to be repaid. If you give a gift, don’t give it hoping you’ll get one in return. After all it then becomes a loan, not a gift.

All in all, treat others as you would like to be treated. And if they don’t return the favor, don’t get upset. Just know that God knows what you have done, and your reward will be in heaven.

“The End Result; a Good Foundation”

6: 46 “And, why do you call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? 47 Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like:

48 “he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon a rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

49 “But the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collasped, and the ruin of that house was great.”

If you put into action the teachings in the “Beautitudes”, Christ says that you will be like a builder who built his house upon a rock. When a terrible storm comes; your house will stand firm and not be shaken. However, if you do as the world teaches, your house will be built upon sand, and when the storm comes it will immediately collasp, and the ruin will be great.

In other words, if we learn to not hold grudges and harbor anger, but instead use the situation to pray for those who hurt us, we will be able to withstand the pain and anguish we feel. And if we don’t do things expecting something in return, we will never be disappointed. It’s a pretty simple, but very profound teaching. One that has made great changes in my life and my attitude. I hope it will do the same for you.

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