Week 4 – Day 23
Hurt people hurt other people.
This is a popular saying that unfortunately is true. It is also true that those hurt people have built up a wall around them that keep them from seeing how their actions are robbing them from what they actually want… to be loved.
When a person is hurt one of the first things emotional scar tissue creates in them is an outward desensitization to those around them. They seek to begin to control their surroundings, either passively or aggressively. They feel they are owed things: apologies, attention, or recompense. This hurt can be fostered from when they were a young child, but they are still attempting to be “paid back” by their new relationships 40 years down the road. Hurts grow into bitterness when they are allowed to lie hidden in our hearts. Bitterness never makes sense. Bitterness will seek repayment from whomever it comes in contact with because it is always crying out, “You owe me. You owe me. You owe me.” Yet no one can ever satisfy the hunger bitterness demands for repayment.
In addition to coming to God and making sure we do not become embittered and allowing His healing to restore us, God wants us to become emotionally aware of those around us. The world touts emotional awareness as knowing how we feel; God wants us to take it a step further. He wants us to recognize how and why others might be acting out. God wants us to walk in love and understanding what others are battling. What we do not recognize is this knowledge of others sets us on the path to freedom from bitterness.
Walking in love does not mean allowing someone to continue to harm us emotionally or physically. God is a loving Father who protects His children. Walking in love has to do with our attitude. How we choose to think about others and the situation is where God is looking for His love to show. Am I constantly reasoning in my head on the injustice of their actions? Am I sharing with those around me to cause separation and division in the name of “please pray for me”? Do I imagine all the ways I would tell them my feelings and prove that they were wrong? Though our outside actions look like love our insides can be swirling and churning emotions of payback and vengeance.
Unchecked these thoughts become a mountain of scar tissue in our life. You cannot change others choices about bitterness, but you are in complete control of your own. I have seen bitterness as a manmade mountain built up through choices to keep hurt inside away from God’s healing power or simply because people never knew that God could heal them. Have you ever had an argument with someone about a simple thing but before you know it you have both dredged up years of past offenses? Those are the signs of unforgiveness. When God forgives He remembers the sin no more. When man forgives he will act like things are ok, until you blow it with him again by offending him. He places the instance on his mountain and is unaware of how it is hardening his heart to trust others and even God.
Fear is one of the driving factors of holding bitterness and unforgiveness. We say things like, “I will never let anyone hurt me ever again!” We have all thought this at one time or another. We then begin our own plan of how to protect ourselves; we build up emotional scar tissue. What is it that we actually desire? Love. Acceptance. Yet the fear of being hurt keeps us from the very thing we seek. We judge everyone around us, present and future, no longer by what has happened but by fear of what could happen. When fear and bitterness team up the “fight or flight” response is always in the background and we become influenced by the enemy’s view of situations and circumstances.
Can you now see how the power of forgiveness is a huge key to your freedom from fear? God never intended for his children to always be on the lookout for how others could use them or hurt them. When we submit ourselves to God’s healing power and allow Him in to work on the wounds of the past we will continue to walk out 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. We are evolving into the new creation that is God-focused and trusts Him. Then our lives will bear the fruit of love in our actions, our words and our deeds. We will be able to share with others the peace that God created within us, and the testimony of how He delivered us from fear.
When the fear of being hurt by others receded from my life I became so confident on the outside. It is like my personality changed. I was no longer trying to control all my situations to keep from being hurt, the chip on my shoulder was gone and the ability to reach out to others increased. Now as battles come up and people hurt me (they still do, you know) I don’t have a mountain of past hurts that flood my soul. I can deal with the recent issue and allow God to show me what is really behind it. God gives me the strength to see the hurt in others and why they are reacting the way they are. God heals me and gives me love for them, which the past “wounded Jennifer” would never have been able to walk in. That love doesn’t mean they have access to me, sometimes boundaries are necessary and people must be distant if they are toxic. But it does mean that my heart is free, the tumultuous thoughts of “Why me?” and self-worth doubting are non-existent. I can continue my other relationships free of distrust and gain exactly what I desire – love and fellowship.
God is making all of this available to us today. It is time to run into His presence and ask Him to reveal the steps to our freedom. Bask in His presence and sacrifice all the hurts to Him, trust Him to keep you safe in future relationships. God is your healer. Joseph told his brothers that what they meant for harm by selling him into slavery God turned around for good by positioning him to save nations from famine and extinction. If Joseph never learned to forgive, God could not have used him and in the end gave him what he truly wanted—reconciliation and love from his brothers.
Genesis 50:20 (AMPC)
As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (AMPC)
17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
18 But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].