Tuesday, 04 August 2015 20:22

Overcoming Hurt

Written by  Candy Arrington
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It’s not unusual for others to take advantage of us—our talents and abilities, ideas, willingness to work—to ease their own load or make them look better. At first, we may enjoy the attention, and often pride factors in because we feel important or necessary. But it doesn’t take long to realize the relationship is more about usury than friendship, and when the person abandons us for a more useful or popular friend or makes us look foolish, the hurt we feel is real and sometimes overwhelming.

 

Being used or abused is a concept as old as time. The Bible recounts stories of those who were taken advantage of or singled out for harassment. Saul used David and his music to sooth his raging emotions and periods of depression. He wanted David close by when he was having a bad day, but he was also jealous of and threatened by David’s youth, talents, and abilities. On one occasion, he hurled a spear at David for no reason, and later, he pursued him relentlessly with the intention of killing him.

 

Joseph was an annoyance to his brothers because he was his father’s favorite son. His brothers threw him in a dry well and then sold him into slavery. Sure, Joseph had bragged to his brothers about being the favored child, but he didn’t deserve their abuse or being robbed of growing up with his family.

 

Years later, when his brothers were in trouble, they unknowingly came to Joseph for help. He could have refused to help them or had them imprisoned as revenge. Instead, he was overwhelmed with emotion, love, and forgiveness. If Joseph had held onto resentment and allowed his hurt over what happened to control him, he probably would not have responded as he did. But he had matured, with God’s help, from the young boy who taunted his brothers. Despite his situation—growing up in captivity in a strange land—he trusted God to help him move beyond hurt. God blessed Joseph and he thrived in what could have been very difficult circumstances.

 

 

Ways to Move Beyond Hurt

As hard as it is to get past feelings of being hurt or betrayed, it’s possible. We’re all sinners who are guilty of letting others down at times or behaving in ways that are not worthy of Christ-followers. But stagnating in hurt and wallowing in self-pity harm spiritual growth and mental well-being. Here are some ways to move forward:

 

 

Stop replaying the hurt. The easiest way to make sure you never move forward is to keep looking backwards. When you constantly dwell on hurtful words or actions, replaying them in your mind over and over, you get stuck in the hurt. Like trying to wade through deep, sticky mud, constantly talking about or thinking about what hurt you makes it almost impossible to make it to the other side.

 

 

Realize you’re not the only one who’s been hurt. We’re all pretty self-focused, and when we feel hurt or used; it seems like no one else has every experienced what we’re going through. But you can be sure others have also had similar experiences. Jesus was mocked, attacked, and betrayed by friends, people in his home town, and family members who didn’t believe he was the Son of God. Jesus understands our hurts because he experienced betrayal, rejection, and false accusations, and died for sins he didn’t commit. Although he was divine, he was also very human and experienced all the emotions we do.

 

 

Focus on someone or something else. My grandmother used to say, “If you’re upset or depressed about something, find a hard job and do it the best you can.” She was probably referring to housework, but the idea is a good one—find something else to occupy your time, your mind, and your hands. Perhaps for you it means volunteering at a hospital, community center, or with an after school program at your church.  Or maybe it means helping an older person with shopping or chores. Doing something for others helps us realize their needs and gives us a sense of purpose.

 

 

Decide to forgive. Forgiveness is a vital part of overcoming hurt. It is also probably the hardest part, because when someone hurts us, we want them to suffer for what they did and feel as awful as they’ve made us feel. But that isn’t what scripture teaches. We’re encouraged to forgive, and do it quickly, before the end of the day. Often, that seems impossible, and it is unless we ask for God’s strength and guidance. Forgiveness is a conscious decision that overrides feelings. You may not feel like forgiving at all, but decide you will and then work on getting beyond the feelings.

 

 

Trust God for what comes next. While you may not think so when you first experience hurt, you will get over what happened. It may take some time, but if you stop thinking about what happened, change your focus, and decide to forgive the process will go faster. God doesn’t want us to be hurt, but he can use even the difficult things in life to help us grow and mature. And often we realize those who hurt us aren’t really those we want for friends. Focus on the One who saved you rather than the ones who hurt you and wait with expectancy for what God is going to do next in your life.

 

 

Candy Arrington is a freelance writer.

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 20:24
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