It has happened to so many of us. You check your social media feed and your eyes fall to a photo of one of your friends out with others, having a great time… and you weren’t invited.
It happens when we invite our church families to that birthday party, and they don’t show up, or don’t even respond to your messages.
It especially happens when someone tells you how they really feel… and you find out they don’t like you, your views, or something about you.
You’ve been rejected from ministry, your spouse wants to walk away, and you’re feeling misunderstood by family members or church family.
Whatever it is, rejection and hurt can give your heart and soul a blow.
I know, I’ve been through plenty of pain myself from dealing with rejection in my childhood, to being misunderstood and feeling unfit for ministry, I have gone through the motions of feeling unwanted by men. And I’m sure you have, to some extent, too.
But I want to tell you something: Jesus will never hurt you.
People may say insensitive and hurtful words to you. But, I’m telling you, Jesus will never hurt you. I know Him, and He doesn’t hurt people.
The issue stands, though, that the fact that Jesus won’t hurt you doesn’t take away the sting of pain you have felt. But, let’s continue on this journey.
Here’s what I don’t want to do: I don’t want to use the word of God to slash at your tender heart and raw emotions with sheer truth, like putting vinegar on an open wound. Nor do I want to make up a fairy tale euphoric scenario for you to believe that will make you feel better, but will never truly bring healing.
I want to use the word of God like a double-edged sword “dividing soul and spirit; judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ”
FIRST THINGS FIRST
I’ve had my share of sleepless nights. One particular night I was up thinking about how someone had hurt my feelings, and they probably hadn’t even known it. I was under the weight of the pain of my problem, when I felt the Lord remind me this first truth: I am for you.
The first thing to remember, if you want to let go of your hurt and be healed, is that Jesus is on your side. He saw what happened, and felt the pain that attacked your being when you experienced it.
And even if it was partly your fault, He is always on your side. He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Open up your heart to Him. Tell Him, like a trusted friend, everything in your heart. He really understands more than anyone.
THE PAINFUL REALITY
When we’ve been hurt, it feels like someone has broken into our homes and stolen our most precious valuables. We feel ripped off. Stabbed and bleeding, we lie on the ground, crying inside for justice to be had.
Whether that is the reality, or we just feel that way, the truth is we need someone to hear us in our pain, and understand us. Jesus does that. Even though He is the great judge, He listens to our feverish rants and judges no one.
THE WORDS OF LIFE
That night, I felt the Lord stand near and listen, as i expounded the fullness of my pain. It felt wonderful to just be heard.
He waited until I finished with my entire thoughts. And then He reminded me of these two verses:
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
“For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
I thought, ‘what do these verses have to do with my problem?!’
But then He gently reminded me that I belong to Him, and He belongs to me.
He belongs to me= I have full access to His mind, thoughts, and emotions
I belong to Him= I am not my own, my life was bought at a price (Romans 8:9)
He showed me that, if my life is hidden in Christ, then no one else should be able to hurt me. That God loved me, and loves me so much, that He gave Himself for me, to make me hidden in Him. If my life is not my own, then I have already died.
If I have already died, then I can’t be hurt. No matter how much someone can try to shoot, stab, and beat you up, they cannot kill you if you are already dead.
WHERE VALUE IS PLACED
What I realized was, I had placed way too much of my value on what other people thought, and when you do that anyone’s likely to hurt you.
And, when you do that, it is actually idolatry. The person who I should value above all is God, and my unresolved emotions toward that person only exposes the idolatry.
I understand that we need to care FOR people and value their views, but this idolatry refers to valuing their opinions OF you above God’s opinion of you. And His opinion is truth.
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the lord means safety.”
And that trap is the bitter poison of resentment towards the offender.
DEFINITION OF RESENTMENT
Resentment is: bitter indignation at being treated unfairly.
synonyms:bitterness, indignation, irritation, pique, dissatisfaction, disgruntlement, discontentment, discontent, resentfulness, bad feelings, hard feelings, ill will, etc.
When we resent, we are taking that hurt we felt, and we want to RESEND that hurt back to the offender. And, without the work of Christ breaking it, that vicious cycle can continue, destroying relationships and the love in our hearts.
HOW TO FORGIVE
People are also imperfect, which means they will eventually let you down. But valuing their imperfect, ever-changing opinions above the reality of who we always are before the Father, will cause us to become disillusioned and disappointed in them.
It also clouds our understanding of our situation, and leaves us with no ability to have compassion for the offender.
You might think, “Why would I have compassion on my offender? They hurt me!”
But, if you lack compassion, you cannot truly forgive your brother or sister from the heart, like Jesus commands.
And if you can’t forgive them, how can you expect to be forgiven? It’s the way the Kingdom of God works. And you won’t be free.
When I saw my situation that way, I was filled with truth. Even though I didn’t see the fullness of the situation. Even if nothing had changed physically. My attitude towards them had changed. I was able to forgive when they didn’t even know they harmed me.
And I felt something lift off of me. The heaviness left. And when it did, I realized what I was carrying that whole time wasn’t from God. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He never intends for us to carry burdens that weigh us down.
The great truth is that when we give them to Him, He will take them and fill us with rest every time.
I rolled around and went right to sleep. It was the best feeling in the world, for many nights I had chosen, not really knowing what to do, to keep the burden, and stayed awake until sheer exhaustion put me back to sleep.
People don’t deserve our forgiveness. Many times they hurt us unintentionally, or they may have totally planned to say that word or do that deed.
And it never made me feel better when I considered that I didn’t deserve forgiveness, either, though it was true. If I were to honestly look back on my life there would be countless times that I have said some careless thing that hurt someone, more than I know.
In dealing with hurt, I’ve found these things helpful:
•Come to God with it FIRST. Pour out all your frustration, tears, disappointment and pain, even if it seems silly to feel that way. Jesus was rejected more than any human being, and His gentle heart will bring you comfort.
•Ask Him to bring you through this situation to healing.
•Ask God to to reveal His word to you regarding your situation.
•Receive what He tells you.
•Believe you are hidden in Christ, and hide yourself in Him. For where you are hidden, no one can hurt you.
•Where you have died in Christ, you will not be alive to. No one can hurt you or kill you if you’re already dead.
•With that in mind, look you God’s personal love for you. Search for scripture of what He says about you being sons and daughters of Him.
•And finally, if needed, ask God for His heart for the offender. That will give you the power to forgive.
Our emotions are valid indicators to us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed, and they are the perfect place to start a conversation with God. But after that, they should be put in their place. We make the choice to follow wherever our minds want to go, whether it’s through our emotions or through truth. Once you’ve expressed your emotions to God, let them be led by truth. That will help bring you to the end of your hurt.
When we are willing to submit to His process for relationships, we will be healed on the inside every time, whether immediately or through time. You will not regret doing it His way.
What about you? Is there a situation in your life that this can apply to? I promise you life, in its imperfections will provide you with one if you don’t have a current story. I’d love it if you would let me know so I can pray for you.