The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord ‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord , that he may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV
Hurt. We’ve all been there. Someone says or does something that hurts our feelings. Or maybe it is something someone didn’t say or do that has hurt us. Regardless the scenario, we’ve all found ourselves in the position of hurt. Wounded. Broken. Crushed by the action or inaction of another.
Yet as I was praying the other day God reminded me about the other side of hurt–the pain caused by our own brokenness. The pain that makes past hurts present hurts again and again.
Let me explain.
Have you ever said something to or done something for another person and instead of receiving gratitude have received bitterness? Or instead of the other person just moving on with life, they fall at your feet in despair because of “what you did”? That innocent comment somehow crushed your friend’s spirit, and you don’t understand why. That email or text you mistakenly forgot to answer or didn’t think needed to be answered leaves the original sender doubting her very worth. A seemingly normal interaction between people ends in hurt–and you are left shaking your head wondering what just happened.
We’ve all been there. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all been on both sides. We’ve hurt others, and we’ve been hurt. Yet what God has been showing me is that our hurt is not always due to someone else’s actions. Sometimes people hurt us, not because they did something wrong, but because we were already broken.
Let me give you an example. When I was in middle school, silence was used for evil; it was used against me. It hurt me so much so that I began equating all silence with rejection. And since silence is what broke me, silence is what kept hurting me. I internalized the silence of the past–a silence used against me–and applied it to all silence in the present. Because of one season of hurtful silence, I created a lifetime of a fear of silence. Silence hurt me, not because people in my current circle were using it against me, but because people in my past did. Silence hurt because I was broken, not because silence was.
Once I realized the true source of my hurt, I addressed it and readjusted the lenses through which I had been viewing life. And although the change didn’t happen over night–it took counseling, prayer, and a faithful friend who fully understood silence was just that, silence–the change did happen. And the hurt went away. And silence to me is now, well, silence.
So in my case, the silence of others hurt me, not because they were wrong, but because I was still broken. And it wasn’t until I let God bind up my broken heart that I could truly view silence in a healthy way–that I could truly view silence as what it is: silence.
Which leads me to my question for you today: are you hurt? Did someone say or do something that left you thinking, “How could they?” If so, then I encourage you to take some time to reflect on the reasons behind your hurt. Genuinely examine your heart and ask yourself, “Am I hurt because of what they did or because of what some else did in the past?” Did what they do with good intentions inadvertently touch that already existent bruise? Did what they speak in love grind into powders your already shattered self-esteem? If not, then great. I rejoice with you that your past hurts are not affecting your present circumstances. Nevertheless, I do encourage you to be diligent in your forgiveness of the other person so that this present pain does not influence your future interactions.
If you do see a past hurt affecting your present pain, then I encourage you to address it. This may not be an easy fear to face, but I promise you it’s worth it. Recognizing that the hurt you feel may very well be your own brokenness is the first step to healing. So let God heal you. Yet as He heals you, do not beat yourself up if you cannot just snap out of it. Some hurts are so deep and took so long to develop that they require some time to heal. But as you face your fear–as you address those broken pieces–remember, my friend, God does heal. And He will heal.
So show God your broken pieces today; and let Him make you whole. For a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope” (Matthew 12:20-21).