If you’re alive, someone has hurt your feelings? Any time we have contact with other human beings, we open ourselves up to pain. And guess what? Christians are not immune from being hurt – or from hurting others.
So then why does it seem to hurt a lot worse when we are wounded by Christians?
I think it’s shocking because we have a misguided believe that somehow Christians are above the petty failings of humanity. We expect our brothers and sisters in faith to act differently than every other human being on the planet. We somehow convince ourselves that a relationship with Christ removes the very sinfulness he died for.
The truth is, Christian or not – humans are flawed. We don’t always make right choices, and we don’t always consider the consequences of our actions – especially with regard to how they impact others.
Here’s the thing though. Having a relationship with Jesus does (hopefully) change us for the better. As we yield to the Lord, and his correction and guidance we are changed. The promise is he will change us from the inside out.
Ezekiel 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
But perfection is never going to be fully reached in this world. As Christians, we will remain imperfect until we are in his presence. That unfortunately means we are capable of inflicting pain on each other.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
So, what is the solution? When we are hurt, we lean in. The solution is understanding who we are, and whose we are. It’s that simple. What we focus on is what drives us – it becomes us. Focus on hurts, and we become bitter, angry, and frustrated.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
But when we focus on Jesus and we find peace and comfort. This is God’s promise to us.
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When our thoughts are fixed on the Lord, it changes our perspective. Filtering hurt through Him changes the way we interpret it.
So, when I am hurt, I have a choice to focus on the offense, or on the one who brings peace. It’s challenging, not always easy, and rarely instant. Sometimes I need to refocus over and over. But I know the promises are true.
There’s no distinction in this process whether the offence comes from strangers, friends, family, or Christian brothers or sisters. The only hope we have of peace comes from choosing to look past the hurt to the ONLY one who can change the ash of pain into something beautiful.
Isaiah 61:3 He will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.