Some people have hurt me in my life. Some long ago. Some recent. Some repeated. Some just once. Here’s what I recently wrote in my journal:
Holy Spirit, please soften my heart towards — and — and —. I am carrying anger, sadness and fear towards each of them. I want to be set free. I am tired of the pain that keeps being inflicted and the pain I keep allowing by rehashing. Help me take my thoughts captive. Please minimize the effects that each one has on me. Please protect my heart and mind from each one. Please help me forgive each one. Please help me see each one as you do (created by You, loved by You, hurting in their own ways). Please heal my every wound. I give each one of them to You. Help me let each one go, as completely as I can.
Yes, I have been hurt. And yes, you have been hurt. Yes, I am still being hurt. And yes, you are more than likely currently being hurt by someone.
Our pain is real. Our pain is valid.
But I want to touch on a couple things. I had a mini-revelation when I was journaling. I told God I was tired of the pain that kept coming (so true) but then I admitted that I was also tired of the pain that I kept allowing to wash over me with every reiteration of the words or circumstances, with every obsessive thought.
You see, I think there’s the pain that has been inflicted. And that is one thing. And it is important to acknowledge.
But then there is what we do with that pain that can – if we’re reckless with our thoughts – multiply our experience of that wounding.
If you are a rehasher like I am, you know what I’m talking about. We get hurt. And then we think about that hurt and we journal about that hurt and we talk about that hurt and we think about that hurt some more and we come up with what we wish we would have said or how we can’t believe that’s what was said and pops us in our minds when we’re driving or in the shower or whenever or wherever and we are like a dog with a bone. And we take that initial wound and we EXPLODE it all over ourselves, and it becomes – dare I say – even bigger than it originally was.
So, I must acknowledge that the people who have hurt me are hurting. And then my already-established hurt clouds my perceptions of that hurt and enlarges it. And then, you guessed it, I have the capacity to turn around and hurt others.
there's a struggle in this life we lead /
it's partly you / it's partly me
Thankfully, I went on to journal:
And in turn, please soften my rough edges and protect others from me and prevent me from being someone else’s toxic person.
I’ve talked about this before but we can’t all be the victim 100% of the time. We are all the hurters and the hurtees. We just are. Because we are all human.
So next time you are hurt, try asking God to give you a realistic perspective of the situation – not to minimize or enlarge what happened. And ask him to keep you from turning around and hurting someone else with the pain you just experienced.
Help us, Lord, to “love one another fervently and with pure hearts” (I Peter 1:22). Amen.
If this post resonated with you, my collection of essays, You're Going to Make It Through, will help you continue your healing.