Understanding Hurting Those Who Hurt Us

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For a real-live example of this topic, please listen to Moving Beyond Emotional Hurt: Understanding Hurting Those Who Hurt Us podcast.

Hurting the person that hurts you is pretty self-explanatory. We respond to a person with the intention to hurt them just as much as they hurt us.

  1. We respond to the person in anger and most likely with harsh words.
  2. We are always on the defense and remain guarded.
  3. We do not understand or recognize our behavior that contributed to the conflict.
  4. We devise methods to retaliate. We quickly reveal the faults of the person that hurt us.
  5. We may secretly wish harm to the person.

Spiritually Hurting Those Who Hurt You:
Hurting others surfaces in our walk with God. Manifestations of spiritually hurting others:

  1. We are unable to extend grace, love, and mercy to the offender.
  2. We request God to interject on our behalf by wishing harm on the person. Our plea maybe God fight my battle.
  3. We lash out to others in our church community.
  4. We do not recognize the areas in our lives where God is calling us to mature and to take responsibility for our actions.
  5. We blame church leaders for their inability to see the conflict in our lives and others around us.
  6. We stop being vulnerable and assume others will hurt us in the same manner.

God’s Perspective:
Let’s examine how people in the Bible responded to being hurt by another person. What did they understand to be true to stop them from lashing out? We are going to look at Jesus’ relationship with Judas. In John 12, John notes that Jesus was anointed by oil for His forthcoming burial. In response to Jesus’ anointing, Judas asked why the oil used was not sold for a profit. John asserts that Judas made this statement because he was a thief and helped himself to the money bag. Also, the other Gospels reveal that soon after the anointing, Judas left. He bargained with the Pharisees for money to turn Jesus over (to betray HIM). One may conclude that Judas was motivated by money and thereby betrayed Jesus. Another reason for Judas’ betrayal maybe his dissatisfaction with Jesus’ missionary work. Whatever was going on with Judas forced him to respond to his hurt by retaliating and wanting to hurt Jesus in return. Simply, it was hurt gone wrong.

The Gospels also indicate that Satan prompted or entered Judas. Once this occurred, he then went to betray Jesus. I want to pause for a moment. I want us to consider that when we respond to hurt those who hurt us, we allow Satan to fill us with lies. We, in turn, hurt those around us. I can only assume that Judas being filled with lies did not think his actions would lead to Jesus’ death. He probably thought that they would just arrest him. He also probably assumed that after Jesus’ arrest, they would let HIM go. Once freed, Judas would think that he taught Jesus a lesson. Sometimes when we retaliate, we are trying to teach the other person a lesson. The lesson most likely is you need to value me. I deserve to be treated better. I want you to understand me. However, we do not realize that our actions cause more harm not only to ourselves but the other person as well.

Now let’s look at Jesus’ response to Judas. During the Passover meal, Jesus was deeply distressed because he knew of Judas’ betrayal. Jesus vocalized his duress and expressed the betrayal. In his response, he did not lash out or insult Judas. Instead, the other disciples were clueless to the real culprit. They were so clueless that they questioned themselves; surely not I. Jesus’ righteous response towards the one who hurt him continued. Judas brings a crowd to seize Jesus. Upon seeing Jesus, he kisses HIM. Jesus calmly responds with “Friend, why are you here?” Despite being betrayed, Jesus once again did not lash out or harm Judas. Instead, Jesus exudes grace, love, and mercy (kiss on the cheek). He also distinguished hostility by his humble response.

Our Call:
The Jesus’ and Judas’ narrative demonstrates two sharp contrasts of dealing with those who hurt us. Judas’ method of dealing with hurt was to hurt the person who hurt him. On the contrary, Jesus demonstrates that being hurt does not mean retaliating and hurting the person in return. As I reflect on these examples, I wrestle with the notion. Sometimes we believe lies, lash out, and hurt those around us. Unfortunately, we cannot undo our behavior which leads to long-lasting effects. As I reflect, I know that I had moments where I believed lies about those I love. However, I do not want to be known as Judas. It is harsh for me to think this way. I know you do not consider yourselves as being Judas. We all are human and do stupid things. But we cannot fuel the fire by responding hurtfully to those who hurt us. Luckily, God allows us to have a choice. Therefore, let’s return to Jesus taking hold of His character and response.