Many times in our lives we are hurt by something someone says or does to us. What we do when we are hurt will determine if we move forward into a better and brighter future or backwards into a deeper and darker misery. Below, you will find four responses we have toward people who hurt us that push us backward into a deeper and darker misery and four responses that move us forward into a better and brighter future. The responses we choose will determine if we will move into a deeper and darker misery or better and brighter future.
FOUR RESPONSES RESULTING IN A DEEPER AND DARKER MISERY
1. We retain it deeply.
When someone says or does something to hurt us, we will be tempted to retain or hold on to what was said or done to us. We retain or hold it deeply in our heart and mind. We hold on to it through anger, bitterness, and rage. Possibly, we will develop hatred to that person. However, the longer we hold on to it, the longer it will hold on to us.
2. We replay it continually.
After we have experienced the hurt of what has been said or done to us, we typically play it over and over again in our minds. It is like we captured the words and actions on DVR and continually watch it. Each time we replay it, the anger, bitterness, rage, and hatred resurfaces.
3. We repeat it verbally.
It is natural for us to want to talk with someone about what happened to us. And there is a time and place for that. But once we have shared with another person what happened to us and worked through it properly, it is time to let it go. By continuing to repeat what happened to us, we will remain in a state of anger, bitterness, rage, and hatred. Rather than continuing to repeat it, we must delete it from our conversation.
4. We repay it vengefully.
When others say or do something to hurt us, we may be tempted to want that person to hurt as much as we were hurt. So we may say or do things to others which will cause them to hurt as much as we were hurt. It may feel good initially to repay others hurtfully, but eventually, we will double the pain in our own lives...the pain others caused and the pain we caused ourselves.
FOUR RESPONSES RESULTING IN A BETTER AND BRIGHTER FUTURE
1. Admit what happened to you.
When someone does something to us, we need to find a healthy person to share our experience with. This is a person who will listen to and love us. Their response may be something like this: Thanks for sharing that with me. I know it was hard for you to talk about. I know what was done to you must have hurt deeply. Please know I love you, care for you, and I am here for you.
The person you share with does not need to be a person who encourages you to seek revenge or who excuses the other person's behavior by blaming you. This person does not need to minimize your pain but sympathize with you in your pain.
2. Acknowledge your pain.
When someone does something to hurt us, we need to admit our pain. Sometimes, in an attempt not to appear weak, we gloss over what happened. When we do this, the pain will stay with us. It is okay to admit what happened to us and the pain it caused. It is not a weakness to share it and admit that it hurt. Actually, it takes great strength to admit our hurt.
3. Accept what happened to you.
When someone does something to hurt us, we need to accept what happened. Acceptance is not approval. Acceptance is just accepting what happened to us as a part of our life story. It is refusing to push it down as if it never happened. It is refusing to deny it ever happened. It is refusing to believe that it should have never happened to us...that these things happen to other people, not us. Acceptance is part of the healing process. Even though we accept it as a part of our past, it does not have to define our future.
4. Absolve those who hurt you.
The word absolve means to forgive by releasing someone from having to pay for what was said or done to us. The act of absolving or forgiving is a choice we make based upon the forgiveness that has been freely and gracefully given to us in Jesus (Ephesians 1:6-8, 4:32; Colossians 3:13). As we move through the process of finding healing from our hurts, forgiveness will follow...grace will follow.
Following the accusations, attacks and abuse Jesus received in his being ushered to and nailed to the cross, he spoke these powerful words, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. From the cross, Jesus admitted his hurt and pain. He accepted it. He then asked his heavenly Father to forgive his accusers, attackers, and abusers. This demonstrates that Jesus himself had forgiven those who said and did hurtful things to him. He was now asking his heavenly Father to forgive them as well.
Who are those in your life who have attacked, abused, and accused you? How long have you been holding on to it? What is it doing to you? Who is it you need to forgive? Acknowledge your hurt. Find someone you trust to admit it to (you can always talk to Jesus. He understands. Hebrews 4:15-16). Accept what happened to you. And finally, forgive those who hurt you. When you are tempted to retain, replay, repeat, or repay what happened to you, remember that you forgave those who hurt you and refuse to hold on any longer to what happened to you. Remember, rather than holding on to it, you held out forgiveness. And by holding out forgiveness, you are now able to move forward into a better and brighter future.
Check out the video below by Matthew West about a mother's journey out of her deep darkness to a brighter future as she forgave.