We all get hurt. Everyone gets wounded. In a fallen world with over six billion unique people, there is plenty of pain available to dole out to everyone. Almost all magazines and popular lifestyle media propagate the idea that being walled up and armored is somehow a sign of strength and toughness. So many people set out on this journey called life, afraid of being hurt, rejected or ridiculed. Terrified to be open, accepting or giving. Getting hurt cannot be avoided. The world may not know what to do with the pain that follows. The wound stays within them, unhealed, unattended, unforgettable and unforgivable.
Christians are likely to face a lot of persecution in their everyday life. But unlike persecution from the world which we expect and can rationalize, we are often left shaken, baffled or even furious when a fellow believer may cause us offense. An errant comment, a hard look or a hurtful action executed with or without intent can easily build up a wall between the members of the body of Christ if we don’t go to the Healer with it. Our healer has experience with hope deferred. Our healer is intimately familiar with all sorts of pain. Be it rejection, betrayal, underestimation, unfaithfulness, cruelty, He has been at the receiving end of all these weapons of mass despair. Yet he carried on loving, givi ng, healing, accepting, embracing and above all forgiving.
How did Jesus do it? How did he overcome so much? How did he stand?
In Ephesians 6, Paul exhorts the church to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Take up the whole armor of God, that they may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand firm in your identity as accepted, beloved, provided for and adored by God. Stand firm in the knowledge that you are saved and forgiven because of the cross.
When we are hurt, when sons or daughters disappoint us, when sisters and brothers behave in unexpected ways, when friends forget to care, when family chips away at our patience, when it all gets too heavy to bear, do remember to cast your burden on the Lord. He shall sustain you. Allow Him in to work on all the wounded, torn pieces of our hearts and minds. Forgiveness is not easy because it forces us to acknowledge the wrong that was done, to see the damage that was suffered and to release it before the cross instead of seeking retribution. Human nature will ask us to get even. Divine nature asks us to freely give what was freely received from God.
Relationships that are rooted in Christ can be sustained through the bad weather and poor visibility which arises in the wake of a hurtful exchange. When we allow Christ to act on our behalf, His compassion, empathy and wisdom will shine through us and overcome the strategy of the devil to separate that which God united.