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As much as I hate to admit it, I was lying in bed last night, trying to fall asleep, when those scenes began unfolding again. My mind swirled with the unsolved mysteries of motive. It wasn’t the biggest deal in the world but it just kept nagging me. I wanted to tell that person a few things; diplomatically set the record straight. I wanted to make sure they and whoever they influenced with their unbridled actions got the true story.
But, believe it or not, I’m actually brighter than that. Chasing redemption for hurt feelings, no matter how well you have planned your execution, is a slippery slope. I knew the thing to do was to silently bear the blow and go on, but this one would not leave me alone. It was one of those resurgent hurts. The kind you know you are mature enough to breeze past, and yet, it keeps coming back. Not because you are dwelling on it, or because you don’t want to forgive, but because it just plain hurt.
Of course, it wasn’t welcome. Hurt never is. It annoyed me that I was even feeling hurt by it.
But there it was.
I’m sure you’ve been there yourself.
Someone did something. Someone didn’t do something. Big. Small. Over a period of time. In a split second. Spitefully. Accidentally. It doesn’t really matter what caused it. At some point we’ve all been barfed on with a load of hurt and struggled to clean it up.
Pardon the mental picture you’re about to recieve, but when it drizzles down your body and the stench of it fills your nostrils you can’t ignore that. You are forced to do something with it.
It’s tempting to nurse the wounds or succumb to bitterness.Sometimes there’s that intense pull that leans more toward the speculations and assumptions that flood your mind. From there they generate a grudge that can cripple your relationships. It doesn’t take long for that initial flinch of pain to transform into anger. Before long you can be a sanctimonious hypocrite that reeks of the same odors that repulsed you before. While you’re justifying your feelings, you may even start barfing on others yourself! You can pamper it and spend the rest of your life feeling sorry for yourself. You can bury it and avoid confrontation, but then the pressure just builds. Somewhere though, in all the things that can and do go wrong after we’ve been thrown a load of ugly, you can pull back all of the scum and recognize that all of that chaos stems from one thing.
You got hurt.
Behind the insurgence in your soul. Behind the temptation to neglect all we have been taught about forgiveness, mercy, turning the other cheek, grace, loving your enemies, praying for those that despitefully use you… Underneath the anger that perpetrates the “what for” you imagine giving them. Buried under the cloak of self-righteousness that justifies the resentment building up within you, there is this tiny root that started it all.
And the truth about that hurt?
You might be surprised. I’m not talking about recognizing your pain so you can molly coddle your sensitive little wounded heart. I’m about to blow the lid off that nonsense.
The truth about getting hurt is that it has nothing to do with the person that hurt you.
It has nothing to do with the action that hurt you.
It has nothing to do with how justice was or wasn’t meted out, or your saintly ability to act gracious while your blood is still boiling.
Walk up to a mirror and look your reflection in the eye.
Meet the ugly truth about hurt.
You see, hurt is the root of all that turmoil, but it goes just a little bit deeper than the hurt.
Before you felt hurt, a tiny seed was there.
Forget the person that hurt you. Forget the dirty deed that irritates you. That seed is an ugly little monster and its the only thing you need to concern yourself with.
What is that seed?
Flesh. The old man. Whatever Biblical term you want to apply to it, it is part of all that should have died at Calvary when it was crucified with Christ. It’s the thing that screams “this shouldn’t be happening to me!”
That ugly little seed is you.
At the heart of every wound is the answer to why it bothers you in the first place. Most people are too consumed with the infractions or how to justify and defend themselves, but if you ask yourself, “Why does this hurt me?” You will see exactly what I mean.
When your name wasn’t mentioned among the people that slaved to make something happen, that twinge of disappointment was a seed of self, desiring recognition. When you were passed up for the promotion you had been waiting for, that irritation in your soul was the seed of self saying ‘you deserved better!’ When you heard the terrible lies circulating about you, that lump of turmoil was the seed of self telling you that you deserve to have people think highly of you. When you complained because of your circumstance, it was self rising up and declaring that you deserve everything to go perfectly for you. When you allowed your bitterness to fester after the tragedy you endured, there was the seed of self saying you deserved to be spared from any pain. When you lamented the trial you were walking through, you were asserting that somehow you deserve exemption from pains that Christ Himself was not exempt from.
And really, the world is full of people that will never comprehend this.
There will be people that read this that say we have all kinds of rights. Rights to respect, rights to privacy, rights to feel whatever we feel, rights to say, rights to do, rights to not be hurt, rights to honor, rights to credit, rights to comfort, and rights to enjoyment.
But anybody that has taken that journey to the old rugged Cross and surrendered their life there will know what I mean. When you remember that Calvary was all about trading that rotting stench called self for the abundant life of Christ living through us it all makes sense again.
We traded a corpse that deserved nothing but the hottest flames of hell for all eternity, to take upon us the life of Someone that denied Himself every right He truly had for all honor, glory and exaltation. When He was falsely accused, He did not assert His innocence. When He should have had a royal carpet laid over the path He walked, He was mocked and abused. When He should have been on a throne commanding His subjects, He was nailed to a cross. The most deserving, worthy One that ever walked this earth, and He was disdained in the most reprehensible fashion. He should have had every good thing we could have offered on this earth; every ounce of respect, every inch of glory, every millimeter of His endless realms of Heaven, and yet, He denied it all for me.
Who exactly do we think we are greedily clinging to “rights” that Christ Himself surrendered so willingly? Is Christ living in us when we object to gossip about us, or get angry when we are mocked? Is He living in us when we think we are above the abuse of this world?
The ugly truth about hurt is that instead of being resurrected with the life of Christ, the corpse of the old man has crept back in and its rotting within you.
But there is good news as well. God designed a little mechanism within us that immediately signals us when something is wrong.
When you burn your hand on a hot surface, or stub your toe on a table leg, it alerts you quickly that something is wrong and needs attention.
It’s called hurt.
Without it, you would self destruct. If you don’t believe me, read about a little girl named Gabby Gingras, born without the ability to feel pain.
God gave us that little treasure not only for our bodies, but for our souls. He gave us an alarm system that cries out when someone has offended us. He’s letting us know quickly that there is something wrong- something that needs some attention, and something that needs to be taken care of.
Hurt is not a bad thing. It’s telling us there is a bad thing.
God was sounding the alarm.
I heard the sirens and I checked the premises.
What I found was a little bit of pride telling me I deserved something I really did not deserve. So, I took that wily beast that reared its ugly head back to the Cross and I laid that little seed of pride there. And you know what? It was a lot easier to let Christ live through me today. All of those things we’ve been taught all of our lives about forgiveness that we find difficult to apply every once in awhile… they really aren’t that hard when you realize it has nothing to do with the people that hurt us. When you recognize that all that hurt is just the trumpet sounding that you have something ugly within you, the issue is resolved without struggle. Who was it that offended me? What was it that they did? They are non-issues that drop off like scales. .Forgiveness, mercy, and grace… they come effortlessly- without force, and without mustering them up. Why?
Because “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”- Galatians 2:20
That is the beautiful truth about hurt.