Dealing with hurt is a topic that most people stay away from simply because they would have to address their own hurt. Physical hurt is the easiest way to equate self hurt. If one injures themself they immediately grab the wound and cover it up so that is not exposed. They feel if it is exposed it hurts more. They feel if it is exposed other people will see it and it will bring down their appearance. They cover their hurt because the pain is unbearable and don’t want anyone to touch it because it may hurt more.
Self hurt is the exact same way. Ephesians 4:31 says “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.” Deep rooted issues, also known as hurt, also tends to get covered up for a false sense of protection. We mask our deep rooted issues so we don’t look hurt because looking strong is desirable. As Christians, we are called to be strong not just look strong. We are going to look at what the bible says about how we should deal with our own hurt as well as how to deal with others who have hurt.
"Hurt people, hurt people."
- Rick Warren
Defining the term “hurt” can be difficult because published versions of the definition equates hurt with physical pain that one is experiencing. The hurt we are talking about is more along the lines of betrayal or being sinned against by someone whether intentionally or not. This kind of hurt usually comes from the ones we care about. They sin against you with either their actions or their words but it sticks with us and it affects our lives moving from that day forward. The biblical definition of this hurt is called sin. When we are sinned against we respond in ways that birth new sins and the cycle continues from generation to generation.
So where does this sin come from? It’s in our nature and we can’t escape it! For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23 Another unfortunate truth is sin leads another person to getting hurt in the process. Not only does sin lead to death but God is angry at sin. Romans 1:18. Understand that the source of all hurt is sin and this sin came in Genesis 3 when the fall of man happened. Things cannot be perfect because we messed this up in Genesis but God sent Jesus to fix what we have broken. So in light of this fixing, as christians, we should be dealing with sin completely different than we did before knowing Him.
Dealing with Your Own Hurt
Now that we understand where the source of all of our hurt comes from we need to understand biblically how we are to deal with our own hurt so the cycle does not continue with us. When first receiving Christ we are called to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and we will be saved Romans 10:9. But we are also called to repent of our sin and turn to God for healing and forgiveness Acts 3:19. But one thing I want to point out is that we need to recognize the sin ourselves to give to God or wait for God to reveal it to us. Ownership must be taken of the sin, that God revealed to us, to start the healing process or else we won’t think that this sin is our problem. When we fail to believe a sin is not our problem the bible says we will not prosper because we are masking it or concealing it Proverbs 28:12. When we mask our sin we also begin to project it on others. Subconsciously we know we have to protect our hurt and when our hurts are not cared for they come out as resentment, anger, bitterness, selfishness, etc. All of which are not fruits of God’s spirit but are the fruits of unresolved pain aka hurt aka sin.
The #1 way to deal with your hurt is to recognize the source, sin, and give this sin to God through repentance. Does this mean give your hurt to God and then take it back when you need to feel sorry for yourself? Absolutely not. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you 1 Peter 5:7. We have to understand that how we handle sin and hurt can be extremely selfish, but the way God handles our hurt is for our benefit and His glory.
If God allowed us to go through something and we held it in to ourselves and everyday we regretted doing that something, it is to no use because only you have it and the effects of it is being poured out on to people around you. God can use that same something and allow you to share it with someone else that is about to go through a similar situation. Your suffering may not be for you to benefit from but for the benefit of someone else. If you don’t like this, imagine being Jesus. Give your hurts to God through prayer and turning from it.
What happens when you don’t deal with your hurt?
Please understand that when personal hurt is not dealt with you run the risk of hurting someone else and potentially creating a hurt in that other person. Now that other person is dealing with another hurt that they now have to try and deal with, and without giving the hurt to God, the cycle will go on. Why do you think generations of families are hurt by their parents? Because a lot of people blame their parents for their bad habits but they never give that bad habit to God, they just pour it into their kids! It’s a vicious cycle but thank God for providing a way out of it.
Another thing to remember is that your hurt is not who you are. Your identity should be in Christ once you have been made new 2 Corinthians 5:17. This includes your sin that has been washed away by the blood of Christ 1 John 1:7. So the sin that use to keep you in bondage has now been removed as well as your mind has been renewed the things of the past absolutely cannot keep you from responding to hurt in the same way you used to.
Responding to Hurt
With all of what we have discussed about sin and hurt the final thing to cover is how should we respond to being hurt or sinned against. First things first, is recognize who you are dealing with. Or should I say what are you dealing with? Are you dealing with sin or are you dealing with a friend? Most would say a friend if this is who you are talking to but if this friend is hurt and they project their hurt onto you, we are called to respond in LOVE. Pretty much to respond in the opposite manner at which they are probably projecting on you. When reviled, we bless. When persecuted, we endure. When slandered, we entreat 1 Corinthians 4:12.
We are not responsible for the behaviors of others but we are responsible for the response we give to the behaviors of others and how its done. 1 Peter 3:9 says “Don’t return evil for evil”. Luke 6:27 says “Do good to those who hate you”. Our goal should be to respond in a loving way. Not because we’re perfect and have it all figured out but we understand the source of the hurt that is being projected on us and what our duty is in responding to it. God created all people in the image of himself, meaning you and I are created in the image/likeness of God Genesis 1:27. Therefore, if your friend is human they are also made in the likeness of God. So getting upset at the being who was made in the same likeness of the God you serve, is counter productive because you would never get upset at God for hurting you, because that is not in his character.
Sin has crept in and has upset you and you should be responding the way God responds to us, with love. It’s easier to respond to a person with love when sin is the problem. Responding to your friend being the problem makes you want to go off on them because they are the reasoning for you being hurt but that is not the case. If sin hurt you through your friend, give your hurt to God 1 Peter 2:23. We should desire to be content in Christ to the point where we respond to sin in love, even if it means saying it is okay when someone cuts you off on the freeway. Forgive the friend, hate the sin, and give it all to God.
Seeking revenge is God’s work and you are not God.
Sometimes it is easier to repay someone what they owe when they have hurt you. God’s word says “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. This is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing” 1 Peter 3:9. Revenge is never the answer and when your intent is to hurt someone you are now committing another sin which will be the source of another hurt someone begins to build up. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord Romans 12:19.
Push back on all tendencies to punish and direct your mind to the good things. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy–dwell on these things Philippians 4:8. So remember, the response to the sin is just as important as the sin itself.
The real sign of forgiveness is when you don’t seek to punish the other but seek the good of the other.
– John Piper
- What hurt have you dealt with in the past that is affecting those around you? Spend time in prayer about this hurt, give it to God, and let Him start the process of changing you.
- Who have you hurt in the past? Spend time in prayer and then reach out to them with a sincere apology whether they knew you hurt them or not.
- Next time you are hurt, forgive them immediately and recognize it is sin you were hurt by and not the person made in the image of God.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you for your word and its correction. We thank you for your Holy Spirit that you sent to guide us and help us as we live in this world but not of it. Lord we ask that you change our hearts to see people as children of God and not as people that are out to tear us down. We understand the enemy is working but as we stay in communication with you, you are equipping us to go out in this world and defeat any temptations that may make us stumble in our walk with Christ. Allow us to respond to being hurt in a loving manner for your glory. Help us recognize the sin inside of us that may be fogging our vision to you. We thank you for your forgiveness and your promises and we will rest in these this week. Lord we thank you, we love you, and we pray all of these things in Jesus name. Amen.