Let’s face it, if we’re doing life in community and fellowship with others like we’re supposed to, it’s going to get messy at times. Sometimes even Christians attack others (it shouldn’t be this way but it is). There will be hurts, and there will be offenses.
Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine Jesus, His friends and His disciples doing life together. I imagine the times where they flat out got on one another’s nerves or misunderstood one another.
Some of the conflict and real life scenarios are right there in scripture for us to read, but even more happened that we can’t even read because it wasn’t recorded.
Christians Blow it Too
Christians are just people. Yes, we are supposed to be known by our love, but that isn’t always the case. Sadly, sometimes we are known for being flat out mean and nasty.
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Ghandi
Sometimes Christians aren’t a good representation of Christ. Surely you can think back to a time when you personally blew it and did not respond in love during a time you were angry or hurt.
Every one of us is guilty of this at some point or another, but it comes back to this: We’re to treat others in the way that we want to be treated. This means if I want to be treated with respect, respect is something I should be showing to others as well. You get back what you put out.
Please Hear Me Out
This is not a blog bashing Christians. I love the Body of Christ, but as a leader who has felt the sting of betrayal a few times, I’ve had more than my fair share of days where I said to the Lord that I just wanted to quit ministry and be a hermit (Jesus is so used to me telling Him how much I want to quit ministry. I’ve tried so many times!)
I want to share with you how to heal from the pain of being hurt by a fellow believer. Maybe they flat out sinned against you, they lied about you, gossiped about you, ruined your life, treated you disrespectfully, or any other number of ways mistreated you.
I do not condone their behavior. I simply want to help you heal.
I’m not going to try to tell you to just forgive them and go love on them anyways. That’s a pat answer that doesn’t really help anyone (I do believe in forgiveness and love but this has become a cliche thing that Christians say instead of actually discussing the pain that can be caused by the betrayal of another).
What to Do When You’ve Been Hurt
Do you have some wounds that still sting pretty bad from other Christians who have hurt you? Whether you suffered severe physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual abuse, or another Christian sinned against you by lying or slandering you, I hope you will walk away from this blog with something very helpful to your situation.
1. Set healthy boundaries.
First off, I do not condone how you were treated, and I don’t feel you *have to* go be best buddies with the one who wronged you. In the case of abuse of some form, it is exceedingly necessary to put some healthy boundaries in place and break fellowship with this person.
You can forgive from afar, without putting yourself in the position to be abused again. There is nothing wrong with that.
Maybe you’ll end up with a relationship with this person that is stronger than ever before but maybe you won’t. Maybe that’s not possible.
2. Turn to God with your raw pain.
Don’t allow yourself to stew in bitterness. There’s a big difference between experiencing an emotion and allowing your pain to control your life. The only way to keep your pain from turning into long term bitterness is to let God heal you.
I understand feeling angry when you have been wronged. We are only kidding ourselves if we attempt to stifle the very real emotions that we experience.
Part of healing requires us to be real with ourselves and with Holy Spirit. You can’t fake it till you make it, here. You’ve got to be honest with yourself and with God because you need to invite the Holy Spirit to heal those traumatic memories and heal the wounds.
This may not (will not) happen immediately, but it begins with a choice to let God in to heal the pain. It is an ongoing choice, because I can pretty much guarantee you that you will have to make the choice again when you feel the urge to pull away and hide from God (He still sees you and knows you).
3. See them through God’s eyes.
As a parent, my kids have done some stupid things. There were (and will undoubtably continue to be) occasions when they hurt one another. I still remember some of the terrible arguments and scuffles my kids have had because of how hurt it made me feel.
When one of my kids hurts another one of my kids, I feel two kinds of ways. Number one, I’m sad for the child that was hurt and I yearn to comfort them. But number two, I’m sad for the child who did the wrong because I realize that hurt people hurt people, and if they are lashing out like that then there must be pain in their heart for them to act that way.
No matter how angry you are with the person who wronged you, it can help to see them as God’s precious son or daughter who also has been hurt. This doesn’t condone how they treated you, but it reminds you that God longs to restore them and heal them also.
4. Make a choice to forgive them.
Again I will reiterate that this doesn’t mean what they did was ok and it doesn’t mean you allow them full access to you again. Truth is, you can decide to forgive someone without ever seeing them again.
Sometimes you make the choice to forgive someone multiple times because forgiveness isn’t a one time deal. Many times we may have forgiven them in one aspect and then a painful memory flashes in our minds weeks later and we again have to choose to forgive.
How to Trust Again
This can sometimes be the hardest part. Once someone you trusted has hurt you, it can feel scary to trust again but you will regret living your life without taking risks and loving others.
We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are called to love.
Jesus knew ahead of time that Judas would betray him, and even Peter would deny Him…. But He loved them both deeply anyways. We’re called to love like Jesus.
I can’t promise you’ll never be betrayed. I can only promise you that it’s worth it to love people and give your heart away anyways. Love them anyways because love is it’s own reward and when you look back on your life, the one thing that will have mattered the most is receiving and giving love.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I pray that it blesses your life and helps you to grow.
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