If you are breathing then you’ve been hurt by someone. It is one of those things that happens to all of us, and not once but throughout life. There’s a good chance it has happened even today or a few days ago. This emotional pain we feel manifests on different levels ranging from the kind that lasts a few hours to the one that cuts through the soul and can last months or even years.
So how does God view emotional pain and what should we do about it? I want to focus on the one that tends to linger: the difficult type which stays on your mind. First of all let me say that if you are hurting now, be comforted, God sees and cares. And that’s why he impressed on me to write this, because he does care.
Let us now examine this pain and understand how we should handle it.
Why do people hurt others?
As we try to come to terms with the pain we feel, we often wonder why the person/people hurt us, because more often than not it is undeserved. We look back and note the good we did and it does not seem to make sense. The problem is that we always look at ourselves and yet it rarely has anything to do with us. Granted sometimes we reap what we have sown but in those cases we know so there’s no mystery.
So going back, as we focus on ourselves we miss the real source of the unfair treatment which is selfishness. There is a reason why God encourages kindness and asks us to focus on the well being of others (Mathew 22:39). Selfishness makes an individual focus on what they want even when it will cause pain to someone else. It is blinding and most times people do not even realize how much pain they are causing.
The irony is that many times what they want is supposed to soothe their own pain or dissatisfaction with life. It is not really your fault that their circumstances are that way. You just happened to be close to them and therefore you were affected. It could have been anyone else.
The truth about getting hurt
Whenever we are ill-treated it is usually not so much what has been done. It is what we perceive it says about us. There’s almost always an attack on our identity and worth as human beings. We tend to see ourselves or value ourselves by how we are treated. Although it comes naturally, it is a wrong mindset. People treat others based on their own personalities. Sure, if you are good-natured you will find life easier but you will still get hurt and even be hated by some. Because it is not about you, it is about them.
To illustrate let us look at a perfectly good person: Jesus. He surely is the kindest most loving person that has ever walked this earth. But they crucified him. So was it him or them with the problem? And that brings us to the next question…
How does God fit in?
God will not always shield us from getting hurt, in fact sometimes, he will lead you to a place knowing that it will cause you pain—in order to fulfill his purpose for your life. Does he approve of the unfair treatment? Of course not, can he make something good come out of it? Certainly.
We have to realize also that the only way God could prevent us from getting hurt is if he took away the freewill of all people and we know that cannot happen. Instead He makes us strong by finding our identity and value in Him.
Let us remember that Jesus who was perfect, got exposed to all sorts of unfair treatment and he did not let it get the better of him. The secret is that he knew who he was. He knew he was greatly valued by God. He was wrongly accused, betrayed, denied by his close friend, ridiculed, humiliated and tortured. Yet while he was on the cross writhing in pain he said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The actions of people did not diminish his worth in God. Neither did it mean that he was no longer loved. He knew he was the beloved Son of God and we should never forget that we too are beloved by God. I will ask you a question: What in this universe is more precious to God than his beloved Son? Yet by sacrificing him for you it showed that your own value is immeasurable. This is your true worth.
What should I do about it?
Yes you’ve heard that many times and it can be very difficult but that’s where we must always start. Forgiveness is for our own wellbeing. By doing so we are preventing bitterness from taking root in our soul and poisoning it. When you refuse to forgive, you inadvertently allow the experience to keep hurting you and the longer it remains the worse it feels.
The Word of God instructs us to forgive because we too have been forgiven by God (Matthew 18:25-31). By dying on the cross for us Jesus paid for all the sins we would ever commit and that is great mercy!
What if you stepped into the gates of heaven and one of the first things an angel said to you was a reminder of the sin you did on earth? It is of course impossible but wouldn’t you be shocked? Yes because you believe God’s forgiveness comes with no reminders. True forgiveness lets go completely. You no longer hold the person accountable—it is as if they never hurt you. That is how God wants us to forgive. The unfairness of what happened will be taken care of (Hebrews 10:30).
Ask God for the grace you need to continue in forgiveness. There will be things that remind you of your experience now and again. But with the help of God you can keep your mind set on forgiving. With time it will get easier and eventually the hurt will heal.
To conclude, the Word of God is truth. It is meant to give us the best life possible. If we follow what it says (as hard as it can be at times) then we will experience what it promises. The pain we feel may not vanish in a day or two, but when you begin to understand how valuable you are in God’s eyes and know that Christ experienced the same as you then you see things differently. It makes you stronger and the next time you get hurt it won’t bother you that much.