If you live enough life, it will happen — you will hurt other people, and other people will hurt you. Sometimes we are intentional, but I believe most often, we do not mean to cause anyone else pain. Whether we are on the giving or receiving end, hurts happen.
But there’s one segment of people who are especially prone to viscious attack. They are the walking wounded. Those who harbor old betrayals, real or imagined, like a child clutching a favorite toy that an adult wants to throw away.
When we allow roots of bitterness and hate to sprout into tendrils that wrap around our minds and hearts, an ugliness begins to smother the beauty of who we are meant to be.
- Others don’t hear us when we speak, they only hear the harshness of our words.
- The fragrance of our spirits isn’t sweet, but soured.
- Our touch makes loved ones shudder, instead of open for an embrace.
- The flavors of our food and drink are masked by the saltiness of our emotions.
- We begin to avoid the mirror, turned off by the reflection we see.
Or worse, we become so engrossed in lashing out so others can feel our pain, that we lose sight of what we really want. Peace.
But what do you do when you desire and are willing to do almost anything to have peace with someone, but they are so wounded they refuse to cooperate in the healing process? This is where I’m reminded of something I use to teach my grandson patience with other people. I often say, “You can’t change them — you can only change him. So work on your part, even if you have to do it from a distance until they can work through their emotions.”
- I ask myself, what might be ticking behind the wall of this person’s hardened heart that is making them react this way? What do they fear? How have they been wounded in the past? What might I feel if I had been through some of the things they’ve experienced? This helps compassion supercede my anger.
- I become intentional at remembering some of my own flaws and past mishaps where I caused another pain. Then I recall how much I desired mercy and God’s intervention to help me clean up the mess I made. This helps me realize I am no better than the person who is hurting me, and I am able to care for them in a whole new way.
- I pray for them. Even if they have made themselves my unwilling enemy, God tells us to pray for our enemies, for those who would spitefully use us. I specifically pray that God would repair the wounds that are causing this person so much pain. I pray He would have mercy and understanding for the why behind what they are doing.
- I analyze myself intently. Have I played a part in creating the chaos? Is there an action I should take? What is God telling me? Should I do something? Or should I sit still and know that He is God and He is fighting on my behalf? I strive not to get in God’s way by trying to force something that may not align with His will. (We humans are terrible at sticking our noses into God’s business.)
- I praise God in advance for working out a situation that appears unworkable. I thank Him for orchestrating things unseen so that His ultimate plan would come about.
Every situation is unique. An answer for one relationship crisis will not necessarily work for another, so I need to carefully listen for God’s voice and weigh various outcomes before I act. The pattern above helps me do that.
I certainly don’t have all of the answers. But I do know the One who does. And I have love. Even when others behave in unloving ways, I can love them, and they can’t stop me. Circumstances may require I do so from a distance, but I can still have care and compassion for them, and I can pray that God would heal their hurting heart that causes them to hurt others.
All of us are prone to hurt someone else. When we see hate and bitterness, it makes us want to run the other way. Do I want others to run when they see me coming? If I learn no greater lesson than to pay closer attention to how I treat other people, then the pain was worth it all.
What do you do when hurting people hurt you?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Brooks, CPT, CLTF, CCS, motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, body, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and Common Trauma Expert. She shares hope and encouragement on the stage and from the page — reminding audiences, “It’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.”
Anita is also a multi-published, award-winning author. Her titles include Amazon Best Seller and Readers’ Favorite International Book Award winner: Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, Barbour Publishing, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, Clovercroft Publishing, and is a contributor to the global book phenomenon, The Change: Insights Into Self Empowerment Book #4. Her titles are available at major and independent bookstores as well as from online retailers.
Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of thirty-three years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. She adores her grandchildren, but she also wants to hear about those you love. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to transform life’s battles into lasting victories.
You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Periscope, and Twitter. Check out her live inspirational broadcasts as Anita Fresh Faith on Periscope. Keep up with her latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email email@example.com to request information on having Anita inspirationally speak or train at your next event.