How do we move forward when people who aren’t supposed to hurt us… do? I can handle being wounded when it is from a random person, but what about when it happens from someone who is supposed to be safe? A close friend betrays a confidence. A relative reacts in judgement. A supervisor protects their own self-interest. A church acts like the world instead of the vehicle of God’s mission. In those moments of brokenness when our soul lies bleeding on the ground, how do we get back up and trust again?
I experienced such a betrayal about 1 1/2 years ago, and it still stings today. Certain words or situations pick at the scabs of emotional wounds triggering old feelings that often surprise me with their intensity. I don’t want to dwell on past hurts, but sometimes letting go can be a challenge. The reality is old wounds only hurt us, they don’t affect the one(s) who did the wounding at all, so learning to put those things behind us is essential.
Some of Life’s injuries are so deep and effect us so profoundly it is wise to seek out professional help to sort them out, while others might only require proper perspective, time and friendship encouragement. Life is certainly difficult enough as it is without carrying unwanted baggage along the way. As I have reflected on my own journey, I have realized a few truths that have helped me process my own situation.
1. God Cares. Jesus is well aware of the pain of relational bruising. Not only did his closest followers desert him, but he was also forsaken by his Heavenly Father while bearing the sins of Humanity on the cross. When we limp to him in prayerful hope, we can be assured that Jesus relates to our wounding… for he was wounded too. Our sympathetic Savior is a compassionate Savior.
2. My Wounds Do Not Define Me. Scars are simply evidence that healing has been worked in our life. What someone has thought of me, or how they might have judged or wronged me, in no way alters the reality that I am a Child of the High King of Heaven.
3. I Have Wounded Others Too. When faced with my own wounds I have to remember that I have hurt others as well in my life. I never have intended to do injury — but I must acknowledge that I have done so.
4. No One Is Perfect. People make mistakes. They vocalize hurtful statements. They act selfishly. They make irrational decisions sometimes. In no way does this excuse their behavior by any means, but it reminds us that we live in a Fallen World. Forgiveness is essential, not for the person who harmed us, but for the health of our own soul. Bitterness only affects us.
5. A Deep Wounding Requires Guidance. Counseling is essential within the healing process if the hurt is deep — especially so, if abuse happened. Having someone walk you through the processing of your experience will help you fill your emotional toolbox with ways to help you discover freedom. Our church is always willing to help in this fashion. Please, just ask us.