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How to Handle Hurt, Christian vs Christian
Christian vs Christian
There will always be times when people hurt you. People make mistakes. But did you know it can happen at the local church? Shocking, I know. Being a preacher’s kid, I consider myself an expert on the subject. (All the other preacher’s kids just laughed out loud.) Regardless, we are always surprised when it happens. When it happens among our Christian friends and family it is even more surprising and painful.
Connectivity is happening. Few things make God happier than when His kids are getting along and loving one another. When we all come together we can make a real difference in the world around us. And, as we know Satan loves to stir up trouble. His attacks come in obvious disguises, yet we still fall for them. These disguises are; Jealousy, misunderstandings, misperceptions, assumptions, neglected feelings, and thoughtlessness, just to name a few. Even though on some level we know all this, it is still heartbreaking when our Christian friends fall prey to these tactics. Knowing they didn’t mean to be mean is not always as comforting as one would hope.
Navigating hurts can be hard. And though I have yet to meet the person who has always handled it perfectly, (myself included of course) we must grow to handle it better.
Connection is growing and the only thing that can stop it is offense and hurt. Being love isn’t always easy but it is required. It is one thing that God clearly expects from his people. He didn’t call us to judge, he didn’t call us to correct every flaw. He only called us to love. Love is patient, love is kind. Love forgives. What does love look like when Christians hurt Christians? Or rather, what should it look like?
Step One – Know it can happen to anyone
There will always be people who do not know how to be honest and kind and patient. There will always be people who make mistakes. (*Caution, you may even be one of these people). There will always be people who, though they want to love, don’t quite get it. And those people will hurt you. We have to believe that they don’t actually mean to. But it happens to us all. And when it does, we are faced with a choice. How should Christians deal with hurt?
Option 1. Face it, head on.
Approach the person who is causing the hurt and boldly ask “What the heck?” While many feel this is the best choice, in my experience this is typically followed by a good dose of denial and little gets resolved. This method is a great one only when your heart is ready and your motives are pure.
When is it wise to confront the situation?
*When someone is lying to you or about you.
*When you truly desire reconciliation.
*When someone is attacking someone you love and respect.
Facing a person who is causing you pain is challenging, doing it for the right reasons can be even harder. Ask yourself; What do I hope to gain from this conversation? Follow with; “How would Jesus handle this conversation?” Remember Jesus has good friends who lied about him and betrayed him. He dealt with hurts too. It is a part of our human journey.
Just make sure your heart is in the right place so that you can be you no matter how anyone treats you.
Option 2. Prayer
Not really an option in Christianity. Prayer is more of a requirement. Here is a tip *ALWAYS involve God in your choices and actions. He has the best answer to your problem. Take your tears to him and know that he cares about your broken heart. But he also cares about the other person. Seek him for peace and wisdom when faced with any of life’s hurtful situations, especially with others.
Prayer - Not the passive aggressive prayer in which you bury your feelings, dodge the person and suggest to everyone who knows you both that they simply “need prayer”. Oh, how this sounds like the high road, falling back on the old prayer line. But it is simply gossip in disguise. Suggesting that you are praying for reconciliation is not the same as seeking reconciliation. In my experience people who say things like this are the ones causing the problems, they are looking for people to take their side, not seeking restoration.
Should we pray for the people who hurt us?
ABSOLUTELY! Pray for the person because you love them and you want good things in their life. Pray for God to reveal the truth about the situation. Pray for yourself to be more loving and more aware. Pray for wisdom to handle the person/people better – they are also a child of God, whom He loves… Therefore you are called to love them too, even when it is hard.
Pray for illumination over the source of the situation.
It is likely that either there is a miscommunication of intentions or an offense that has never been calmed. Often times it is a simple lack of communication that causes the problem. Someone took something you said out of context or was hurt by something you did or failed to do. The hurt was unintentional, yet it has caused pain for both parties.
Prayer alone won’t likely do the trick. God called you to be his son or daughter and he expects you to act like it. That means being love not being lazy. Don’t sit and wait calling it prayer when it is really just avoidance. Be quick to make peace.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.— Matthew 5:9
Option 3. Ignore it and be kind.
You can’t please everyone. And if you can, you are in danger. Luke 6:26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” Some people are going to want more than you can give them. Some people are going to want to be hurt or angry. Jealousy, disappointment, self esteem struggles, there are lots of reasons that you cannot help or please everyone. Some people live to find fault in others. You have to learn to love them and move on.
Ignore the hurt as best you can. “Ignore” may sound like the wrong word. But to ignore means to intentionally disregard, to fail to consider and to refuse to take notice. This sounds like the right definition to me. Don’t ignore the person! Intentionally disregard the fact that they are trying to hurt you. Refuse to allow the way they treat you to determine how you will treat them. Ignore the hurt, love the person.
Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes until you are moved with compassion for them. The trust may be broken, and the friendship may not be one you want to pursue any deeper. But this is a person who you once saw goodness in, this is a person that God loves. Do your best to forgive them – truly and be kind. Never allow someone else to make you someone you are not.
Ask yourself this:
“How will I treat her when I see her in Heaven?”
We are all God's kids
Looks like love
Despite misunderstandings, frustrations and disappointments we will likely (hopefully) see one another in Heaven. I would like to think that I will treat you with love when I see you there. If that is the case, then shouldn’t we act the same towards one another now?
So stop all the passive aggressive attempts to put down the people who have failed to meet your expectation. Try your best to see the goodness God sees in others. You don’t have to be best friends to show grace and forgiveness. Smile, give them a hug and wait for God to do his handy work in their heart without your snide suggestion that they just really need prayer.
There is no always.
Each situation reveals its’ own option. We need to be flexible. While I prefer option 3, there are times when confronting the person is necessary to put hard feelings to rest. But you should never allow how other people treat you to change who you are willing to be.
That is what love looks like. And Love is how Christians should handle everything.
Let's keep growing together.