We all know this, right? So why does it still surprise us when a hurting person lashes out at others?
I read something last night that brought me to my knees. It was a statement dripping with hurt and it broke my heart. But as I read responses, I was surprised. By the judgment of others. But also by the support of the hurtful statement.
When someone is hurting, we want to help. We want to sympathize and encourage. And these are good responses.
But what if the person is completely wrong? Is it okay to ignore the wrong simply because the person is hurting? Is it okay to hurt others, because you have been hurt?
I have been wrestling with these questions for some time now. I have experienced a kick-you-in-the-gut kind of hurt. And as much as I wanted to honor God in the midst of my hurt, I still retaliated and responded out of that hurt at times.
In retrospect, I can see how I could have handled some things differently. But in the "hurting people, hurt people" scenario, there are always two sides. And until someone breaks the cycle, people will continue to get hurt.
The real question is where do you take your hurts? Do you try to solve your hurts by going to the ones that have hurt you? Do you try to get people to join your side- to stand with you against the hurt that is coming your way?
I confess that I have done both of these things. I have sought reconciliation and in the process was hurt more. And so, I sought the comfort of others who had experienced the same hurt. But this only brought more hurt- it didn't solve anything.
And so, I have learned by going down a very difficult path that I must take my hurts to Jesus. I knew this, but it is a natural tendency in the midst of hurt to lash out (hurting people, hurt people).
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
It is when I forget this, when I look to others to heal my hurting places, that I am lacking in everything.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
Yes, He does. When I am willing to follow Him and not let my hurts drive me.
He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake.
Remember how I said that I wanted to honor God? The problem was that I was trying to honor him in my own way- I wasn't following the right path, because all that I could see was my own hurt.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Hurts are real. They are unfair and should not happen. But they do. And sometimes those hurts are so deep, that we are trapped by them. And we can't see a way out. If we could open our eyes to truth in these moments, and see that Our Shepherd is always with us, it would change things. Because we understand that hurt is inevitable, but even when we walk through those times, we will be comforted when we are trusting in Him. This means admitting when we are the ones in the wrong. It means not trying to get everyone else to admit their wrongdoing. It means trusting in the Shepherd.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.
When I am hurting, my tendency is to not want to wait for God to prepare the table- I want to do it myself! I want to show those who are hurting me that they have been unfair. That they are wrong. But this is not the way that God works. The blessing that He wants to pour out on the ones who trust in Him? They are for HIS glory! Not ours! And so, we need to trust his timing. We need to trust His faithfulness. Justice will prevail- in His timing.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Isn't this the life that we all want? The one filled with goodness and love- dwelling in the house of the Lord forever? I know that I certainly do. These hurts that I have experienced have changed me. There are scars. But they have taught me in a deeper way to trust in the Lord, to bring my hurts to him, to follow my Shepherd.
And now when I see hurting people, hurt people, my response is not one of judgment. I get it! But it can't be one of unfiltered support either. Because if I love my fellow brother or sister, it means that I don't want them to stay in that hurt. And I know the truth that ONLY Jesus can fill those broken places.
Hurting others will never heal our own hurts.
Words in italics are found in scripture- Psalm 23.