Wounded by Others

Dear Friends,

I don't know about you, but I often find that the wounds that hurt the most, last the longest and go the deepest are made by the words spoken to me. I may not have any physical scars but I do bear some invisible scars.

Some of these scars have actually been caused unintentionally because of a person's misunderstanding or their insensitivity. They have not been intentional. They have not set out to deliberately upset me. I know that. Yet the pain from these wounds is still real. It still hurts.

Sometimes they are caused by those closest to us. Sometimes they are a repeated wound - when the person continues to cause pain with their words. It makes it very hard for these wounds to heal when a person continues to hurt us in a similar way.

It's important for me to forgive the person who has hurt me. Perhaps more for my sake than for theirs. Recently, email devotionals and sermons at church have all been about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a great concept and one I completely agree with and believe in. Until it becomes necessary for me to offer someone forgiveness. Then it becomes hard! I've been reminded of when Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive someone for the same offence committed against him. 

"Then Peter came to him and asked, 'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?' 22 'No, not seven times,' Jesus replied, 'but seventy times seven!'" Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)

That's a lot of times!  But isn't this what God offers me and you time and again?

I was talking with my sister some time back about an incident in which I'd been hurt by the words spoken to me. She stopped me and told me, in love, that I was getting visibly angry as I relayed it to her. She wasn't judging me. She was just making me aware of my emotions. She was right! I was right back in that moment, feeling wounded, hurt, upset, angry. I was holding on to those feelings. It was clear to me that I needed to release those emotions, not in an unhealthy way, but by handing them over to God and asking for his help to forgive the person who had caused me such pain.

Over time I've had to keep going back to God to ask for his help to forgive. And he has helped. He has given me the strength to forgive. So that I can be in their company and can show them love rather than holding on to to the bitterness and pain.

However, there are still times when something is said or done by them, and I remember the pain they caused me in the past. And it does still hurt. The scars themselves may have faded over time. They may not be so raw and red. But I also know there's still more healing God needs to do in my life because, like I said, the pain is still there and it rises to the surface every now and again.

What do I do when the pain resurfaces?

I could wallow in my wound. I could replay over and over in my mind the scene and the words spoken. But replaying it actually means I am reliving the pain and when I do the hurt is intensified. I could try to justify the way I feel and tell myself it's only natural that I feel this way as the wounded party. I could tell anyone willing to listen to me all about the offence committed against me. Trust me, I've been there and I've behaved in that way. But none of these things were helpful and none brought healing to my life. I could try to ignore the pain completely and pretend I'm O.K. but eventually I would have to deal with the emotions surrounding the pain.

Instead, I'm learning to deal with it by taking my pain and hurt to God. Only he can heal me of my pain. Only he fully understands my pain. He knows what it is to be wounded. Jesus bears the wounds of my sin and yours on his own body. He was wounded on the cross that we might know healing, peace and love.

"But he was hurt because of us; he suffered so. Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed him. He endured the breaking that made us whole.  The injuries he suffered became our healing." Isaiah 53:5 (VOICE)

Jesus bears the scars of his suffering. They are a visible sign of just how much he loves you and me.

So yes, Jesus understands my pain. He has experienced pain first-hand. When I go to him with my pain, I let that pain go, I leave it with him.  In place of my pain I receive his comfort, his love and his peace.

I'm learning that there will still be many more times when I need to go to him with my pain. The moment I am reminded of my wounds and the moment I feel that old hurt and pain resurface I can choose to do one of two things. I can choose to allow it to bring me down, to make me miserable. Or I can choose to take it and leave it with God.

I choose to go to him with my pain as many times as may be necessary. I know my Saviour will not turn me away, or get fed up with my lack of progress. He will hold out his nail scarred hands to embrace me and he will say "Come to me. Cry your tears. Release your pain. Just rest in my arms."  

To Think About:
What wounds and scars do you bear as a result of the things others have done or said to you?

Are there any wounds that are still causing you pain? What have you done in the past with your pain? Is there anything you could do differently?

What difference does it make to your life when you take your pain to God rather than holding on to it?



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