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Self-inflicted Hurts

May 9th, 2012

“See . . that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble.” Hebrews 12:15 NIV

“You can’t control others’ behavior; you have to manage yours.”

My thoughts and comments today are about “self-inflicted hurts.”

You are going to be hurt by people. Many people who touch yours and others’ lives every day – friends, acquaintances, and strangers – have been hurt, and hurting people hurt others, knowingly some times, unintentionally usually. You can’t make everyone like you or treat you right. You cannot prevent being hurt, but you can spare yourself from joining the company of those who hurt others. “Do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Read Romans 12:17-21 NIV. You can’t control others’ behavior; you have to manage yours. There is a qualifier in the Bible’s advice, “as much as depends on you.” Not everything in every situation does.

Hurt results from what others have done to you, maybe by their attitude or actions, but usually by their words. In the context of our words, James cautions that “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” Read James 3:2-11 NIV.

Bitterness is a self-inflicted wound – what you do to yourself because of an unkindness someone did to you. The Bible gives wise advice: “Make every effort to live at peace with all men and be holy . . See to it that no man misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV. Living at peace with others normally requires “making every effort.” Bitterness does not always happen immediately; it grows as you give it thought and emotion. Bitterness sort of grows on you, but doesn’t look good on anyone. It is a settled emotion that infects your personality, poisons your thoughts, and complicates every interaction with others.

When hurt, letting it go does not come easily or naturally to any of us. The effort involves a tough choice and an attitude and behavior consistent with that. You might choose to react in kind or, reaching for the sufficient grace of God, you can respond in a way that values the relationship, leaves room for restoration, protects your heart from offense, and insulates your emotions from bitterness. The right choice is evidence of your greater desire to please God and properly reflect His grace. You choose either to react to your hurt or respond to God’s healing; it’s your choice to make. You can get even with people who hurt you, or sulk in your own pity party, or bring your hurt to God and be healed. Read Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT.

So you think you have been disappointed in someone. Read Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV. Jesus had supper with His disciples, knowing Judas would soon betray Him, yet He did not expose Judas to the other disciples. Read John 13:21-30 NIV. In Gethsemane when Jesus was arrested by soldiers, the Bible reports of the disciples, “Then everyone deserted Him and fled.” Mark 14:50 NIV. Yet to whom did Jesus appear after His resurrection? Jesus knew Peter would deny ever knowing Him (Mark 14:30-31/71-72 NIV), yet after His resurrection, the angel pointedly said, “Go, tell the disciples, and Peter also . .” Mark 16:7 NKJV. Jesus offered grace on every occasion, because Jesus saw people in light of their potential rather than as problems. The cross is a good place to leave your sins and hurts.

My prayer for you today is that you find grace to rise above the unkindness of others.

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