I would say it is pretty much impossible to escape the pain of being hurt by people. Sometimes it’s unintentional and sometimes it is very intentional. Either way, it is not fun to go through,
It is so difficult to figure out what you need to do to make sure you don’t become bitter and resentful not only towards the person who hurt you, but also towards every other person who comes into your life. I share a little bit of my story here, and since that post which was written in 2013, there have been some other…situations to practice these steps to take when people hurt you.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list, it is just some things I have learned through the pain.
1. Pray for the person
This may seem simple, and even cliche. But let me tell you what this does. When you start talking to God on behalf of the person who has hurt you, it puts everything in perspective. It puts your weaknesses, your sins, your failures on the same level as the other person’s. It reminds you that you are not better than the person who hurt you, and that your sin is just as ugly as theirs in the presence of a Holy God. It reminds you that God shows mercy to you and you can show mercy to them. When you first start doing this, praying for the person who hurt you is incredibly difficult. It’s hard to even pray words of blessing over them. But it’s humbling. And it’s exactly where we all need to be. Less of me, more of HIM. Always.
2. Don’t burn your bridges
Sometimes people make mistakes, and hurt you unintentionally. It may be words spoken without really thinking, or it may be actions done that they never planned to do. Don’t cut off all ties, and close yourself off to the person completely.
Be ready to forgive.
Be ready to show grace.
Be ready to love. This way, if the person comes back and apologizes, you are ready to be the kind of friend God wants.
Of course, this doesn’t always happen. The person may never come back..may never apologize. I have been in that situation before and it’s hard. But you still need to have your heart ready in case they do.
And maybe the person does come back and ask for forgiveness. You need to be ready to forgive, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to trust the person with your deepest secrets anymore. There are people in my life who I have a perfectly good relationship with, but because of things they have done in the past, I just won’t open up the same anymore. It’s not being bitter, or holding on to things. It’s just being smart.
We need to be careful who we trust.
3. Don’t change who you are
The automatic response when you get hurt over and over is to start thinking there is something wrong with you. I have found that the main reason people end up hurting me, is because of the fact that I open up to them.
I am real. I am open and honest about my struggles, my weaknesses and my feelings.
Because of this, people end up using that against me. The temptation is to change who I am. To close up. To be fake. To not show people my real feelings and to just be shallow.
But it’s just not who I am. I love people. I love to real with people. I love to show people that I have no problem being vulnerable. We are all equal. We are all subject to the same struggles and failures. I enjoy being open with people, even when it comes back to bite me.
Be who God made you to be. Don’t change that just because a few people don’t like it.
4. Talk about them behind their back
When you are in a situation where the person who hurt you lives close to you, or is still friends with some of your friends, you are given the opportunity to practice this one a lot. This one takes a lot of practice and a good dose of self-control. The easy way to respond when a friend brings this person up is to make a face, make an under-the-breath comment, or even go into detail about what this person did to you. You can even feel like you are just warning the other person!
That is a trap. The Bible is very clear about the danger of repeating a matter. Take the opportunity to say something good about the person who hurt you. So. so. hard. But so important. Talk good about them behind their back. Build them up. Practice speaking life. It is so rewarding.
5. Assume the best
It is so easy to be hypothetical with our thoughts. Whenever we stress about the future, we are really just being hypothetical. I always say, if we are going to be hypothetical anyways, we might as well be hypothetical to the extreme good side! Don’t assume that the person is still talking bad about you, or wants to hurt you again. This is simply an assumption. So assume the best. Assume that they are feeling bad for what they did. Assume that they are not talking bad about you. Just assume the best. Assuming the worst never does anyone any good anyways.
6. Don’t let it ruin other friendships
This is so easy to type and so hard to practice. I struggle with this every single time I meet new people. Because of the fact that I have had so many people hurt me, I just have a hard time with the wondering if this new friend will become that one more person who hurts.
The truth is? Maybe they will be.
Ugly truth, I know. But the truth also is? Maybe they won’t be.
It’s always worth taking the risk…you never know when you might find an incredible friend. Don’t let your fear ruin other friendships.
Now. I can write 6 steps to take when people hurt you. I can try my very best to do all of these.
But the fact of the matter is, sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I can’t pray for them. Sometimes I do expect the worst. And sometimes I start changing who I am because of the fear that my next friend will hurt me. All I can say is this: if you fail at one of these? Just start over. Just try it again tomorrow. And sometimes, you will feel like you have totally forgiven, totally moved on and then you bump into the person…and all those feelings, that pain, the hurt all comes crashing over you. This is hardest when it’s someone who has never admitted doing wrong, or never apologized! It’s ok. You can still move on from it. You can still learn and grow from all of it. You may have the scars there forever, but it doesn’t mean that they control you. Don’t forget…Forgiveness doesn’t make them right, it makes you free. Enjoy the freedom that God has given you and don’t let the enemy steal your joy, your peace and your LIFE! Take it one day at a time, and eventually, you’ll be able to look back at that pain and see it as a way that God used it in your life to make you look more like him.
And isn’t that what it’s all about anyways? Carry on.