Dealing With Hurt And OffenceWhat The Bible Says
Timothy Cross BA(Hons), BD(Hons), Th.D.
A hazard of the boxing ring is the distinct possibility of getting
physically hurt. Every boxer, professional or amateur, knows the risk
of, for instance, a broken nose, a cut eyebrow, being winded by a
body punch or even being knocked out cold, risking long-term brain damage.
A hazard of life generally though is also the distinct possibility of
getting hurt in some way. Here, I am not referring to something as
unsubtle as a black eye, but to the more insidious pain of inner
hurt, and that crushing feeling of inward offence. To be human is to
be sensitive. Being on the receiving end of a deliberate or
accidental offence and consequently feeling hurt inside can be a
great problem for us all at some time. What do we do at such times?
Does the BibleGod's Wordaddress this issue? Yes it does.
Consider the following:
First of all, it is not wrong for us to feel hurt. Mark 3.5
describes an occasion when the Lord Jesus Himself looked
around at them with anger, grieved by their hardness of heart.
Then in 2 Timothy 4:14 Paul relates how Alexander
the coppersmith did me great harm... If both the sinless
Son of God and the great Apostle Paul winced with inward hurt then,
we will too. We are only human and we are part of a fallen world. So
whilst we do not welcome getting hurt, it is unrealistic not to
expect it at some time. How though are we meant to react?
The Bible teaches non-retaliation. By this it warns us not to add
fuel to the fire and make a bad situation worse. Jesus said in
Matthew 5:39 But I say to
you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the
right cheek, turn to him the other also. And Paul wrote in
Romans 12:17 and 19: Repay
no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the
sight of all... Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it to the
wrath of God, for it is written 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay,
says the Lord.' Vengeance then is God's prerogative, not
ours. It is natural, of course, to want to retaliate and 'get even.'
But the Christian Faith is not naturalit is a supernatural
Faith. God's Holy Spirit, living within us, enables us to live and
empowers us to live, think, act and not act, in a way and manner
altogether differently from the normal.
The Bible often reminds us that we have a Father in heaven to Whom we
can turn when we get hurtor in fact at any time. Call
upon Me in the day of trouble (Psalm 50:15). Cast
your burden on the LORD and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22).
In this, we have the positive example of the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself. How did He deal with personal offence? 1 Peter 2:23
tells us: When He was reviled,
He did not revile in return; when He suffered He did not threaten;
but He trusted to Him Who judges justly. In leaving in
God's hand, the personal abuse He received, Jesus has given us, His
followers, an example to emulate.
In praying to God about those who have wounded us, is it wrong to
pray that He will take vengeance upon them? Putting my head on the
block, I would suggest that it is not necessarily wrong, not that I
can ever recall doing this. Many of the Psalms are what are known as
'imprecatory' Psalms. In these, the Psalmist prays that God would
avenge his enemies. It is certainly infinitely better to ask God for
vengeance on our enemies than to take revenge ourselves, for we can
be sure that God will never punish unjustly, or too much or too
little, or be handicapped by wounded pride and personal prejudice as
we are. Remember too that in God's dealings with usincluding
the harsher people and providences He sends our
wayPsalm 145:17 holds true: The
LORD is just in all His ways, and kind in all His doings.
Even our pain then will turn out ultimately for our blessing, for
Romans 8:28 says that without exception We
know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him,
who are called according to His purpose.
Finally, no matter what internal scars we carry, if we are
Christians, we must always remind ourselves and rejoice that our
Gospel is a Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. Christ
died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Your
sins are forgiven for His sake (1 John 2:12).
Our sin offends almighty God, but in Christ He had mercy upon us.
Every Christian is a recipient of the mercy of Goda full and
free forgiveness, gained by Christ's undergoing the punishment for
our sins, in our place, on Calvary's cross. Surely, if we know that
God, in Christ, has forgiven us all our sins, our attitude towards
others will be that much more merciful. Hence Paul exhorted in
Ephesians 4:32: Be kind to
one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ
So, in this wonderful, but at times painful world, it pays to fix our
eyes on Jesus and His redeeming love. The cross of Christ keeps
everything that happens to us in its right perspective.
© Timothy Cross 2005 <http://www.twoedgedswordpublications.co.uk/Articles/Dealing_With_Hurt.htm>