Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dealing with Hurt

I used to think that sharing hurts with others was admitting that you sinned because you were hurt by something they did. That instead of telling someone that they hurt you, that you should confess your sin to God and try to forget what they had done to you. It seemed wrong to me to be “hurt” by another person, as if it was your own fault for being bothered by something they did. But my parents explained that may not be the case. If someone has clearly sinned against you, that may hurt you. It is not wrong for you to share with that person that they hurt you if they have sinned against you. At the same time, you could also be hurt by something perceived as wrong against you, so you must be careful to distinguish between the two.

In example three from my recent post, you were dealing with an angry dad. In this case, it was clear that your dad sinned against you, and you harbored bitterness in your heart because you felt like he unjustly accused you. But if someone has sinned against you, what are you to do? How do you biblically deal with someone sinning against you or hurting you?

First of all, identify if it is appropriate to tell someone that they’ve hurt you. Here are some thoughts.

If you can’t cover it with love. If your sibling accidentally messes up a project you’ve been working on for weeks, and you think they did it on purpose to get back at you for something and can’t forgive them, you need to go to them. If your mom asks you to watch your younger siblings while she runs an errand and you had other things you needed to do but she didn’t give you a chance to explain that and you became angry or bitter, you need to go back to your mom (especially if you then did what she asked with a bad attitude--in which case you need to ask forgiveness).

If they’ve clearly sinned against you. I’m not talking about what you think is sin, but something that clearly was sin. If your dad yells at you for not doing your work as in the previous example, and he never returns and asks your forgiveness, it is appropriate for you to go to him.

But how should you go back to a person that has sinned against you? What if it is a parent or other authority figure?

First of all, you must make sure your heart is ready to go to that person. Are you enraged? Are you self-righteously wanting them to apologize to you?

You must speak gently and lovingly.

Your intent should be to restore the relationship—not proving your point, getting back at them or making them feel bad for what they did. There are two ways you can go to someone when they’ve sinned against you; you can go proudly or you can go humbly.

In the midst of that, if you responded in some way that was wrong, you also need to humble yourself and confess your sin.


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