Life includes plenty of pain. Much of it comes from the realities of life in a fallen world: illness, accidents, natural disasters, financial crashes…
Sadly, too often, our pain is caused by other people. I am horrified at what people will choose to do to each other: theft, lies, abuse, slavery, rape, sexual trafficking, torture…
But the most painful is usually that inflicted by those we love—and we think love us. That pain is often unbearable, barely endured, deeply grieved, scarcely survived.
God’s Word has given me real help. I may not be able to control the cause of my pain, but I can choose how I respond.
So here are some responses that have made a difference for me.
1. Tell God the Truth
How do I feel about what this person has done to me? God knows what is in my heart and mind, and He can handle my rawest emotions. I tell Him the truth.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. “ (John 4:23)
2. Thank God in the pain, the hurt, the person who has hurt me.
Thanking God helps to refocus my mind and heart. It tells God that I know He is God and He is good. And giving thanks opens the door for what God wants to do in the situation.
“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
(More on giving thanks: In All Things)
3. Look for the good that God is doing.
Sometimes the good is hiding for a later time, but often I can see glimpses of positive results: changes in my life or the life of the one who hurt me; insight into my past and my future; resolution of unhealed wounds; opportunities to encourage others.
“I will never stop doing good to them…” (Jeremiah 32:40)
4. Forgive the one who hurt me.
Really? Do they deserve to be forgiven? Probably not. But I’ve been given repeated admonitions to forgive and a powerful model.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’” (Luke 23:34)
(Some help: A Prayer for Forgiving)
5. Bless the person who hurt me.
Once again, God is clear in His impossible requirements. He tells me to bless my enemies, and yes, even this one I love feels like an enemy when he hurts me.
My tendency is to strike out verbally, to accuse, to blame—to curse. But God says to leave the consequences to Him—He is a much better justice maker than I am. When I choose to bless, amazing things happens—my attitude begins to change, the person receives my blessing and that blessing invariably comes back to me.
Jesus: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.“ (Luke 6:28)
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
(More on blessing: Scattering Blessings)
When I do these things, does the hurt go away? Not usually. But these responses open my heart and mind to receive the love and grace God wants to pour all over me. And grace and love are powerful healers.
What about you? How does God help you when you have been hurt by someone you love?
C2012 Judy Douglass