Every person has, at one time or another, been hurt by someone.
We have all experienced disappointment from people that we have loved and trusted. Many of us have been betrayed by close friends or even family members.
What we do with our feelings, after these things have happened to us, will determine our personal happiness in the future.
The way that the world handles offenses, is to get even. To make known to as many people as possible, the things that someone has done to us. Many people will tell you that they cannot gain any closure, after they are hurt, until the person who caused the injury has been punished.
In reality, none of these things work to alleviate our pain and suffering.
What does work? Doing good for the very people who have hurt you, used you, and caused your pain and suffering.
I am not describing a process where you simply ignore what someone has done. I am speaking of a process that will bring healing to your heart and allow you to move past your hurts. Those who hold on to their anger and pain and refuse to take the correct steps to deal with what has happened to them, go on to be bitter and angry people. In many cases, the effects of bitterness will cause many diseases like cancer, heart disease, and psychological difficulties.
It is interesting that the Bible is filled with people who have been hurt, taken advantage of, and who deserved swift judgment. We also see that in these moments when an individual deserves punishment, the Lord commands that we forgive. In situations where we have been harmed by another, the Lord says that we should do good to these people.
Jesus speaking: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:44
Jesus Speaking: bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. Luke 6:28
This approach to life is seldom practiced by anyone in the world today. It is a part of our nature to want to get even with those who have wronged us. Society will applaud you if you successfully achieve revenge and make a public display of your conquest.
When I was a young man, several years ago, I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said: “I don’t get mad, I get even.”
This is the approach that many people take, once they have been wronged by another person.
I am one of those who have been severely hurt by the very people I have tried to love unconditionally. I have been betrayed by close friends, and I have had untrue things broadcast about me, of which; I was not able to convince others that I had not done. Finally, after many years of suffering, I learned some of the principles that I am writing about in this article. Today, I find it a great honor to love and do good things for many of the people who once caused me such great suffering. I have realized that my pain and broken heart from the past, has allowed me to love people more and expect less from them today.
I have learned that I must love people and seek to do good for them, without expecting anything in return. In truth, this has been easy, because of what I learned from Jesus. His example of sacrificial love for people who would never even thank Him, or return the love that He had given, is my inspiration.
...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Matthew 20:28
I have discovered that the fastest way to heal a heart that has been hurt by another person, is to immediately go out and begin to do random acts of kindness for people. By treating everyone that I meet with kindness, understanding, and compassion, I find healing for my own heart. It is impossible to maintain bitterness, when we turn from focussing on ourself, to giving and encouraging other people.
I am the big winner in this effort. I gain far more than I ever give. I have more peace and happiness at this point of my life, than I have ever had. This, is in spite of things that are so horrible, that if I told you about them, you would likely find it hard to believe.
I have overcome every one of these obstacles, by love. I have become a victorious individual by forgetting about what people have said and done to me, and look to how I can make their lives better.
When we determine to live in this manner, these good words and deeds, slowly begin to catch up with us. We not only gain a lot of peace and joy in our life, we have the admiration and respect of other people. Although, for me, I never set out to gain anything from the things that I have done for others, this was nevertheless, the result.
Today, when someone takes advantage of me, or says something unkind about me, I smile. I know that I have an opportunity to bless this person in a way that they could never imagine. When we love those who do not love us, we gain access to a part of their heart that we could never achieve by any other way. Love is the only thing that really has the power to set us free. Not the kind of love that the world has; a selfish, self-seeking kind of love. The love that I am describing is the kind that God showed to each one of us, when He allowed His only Son to come to earth, suffer brutal torture, and die for our sins. God loved the world so much that He gave…
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17
For me, I want to love people with the same kind of love that I have been experiencing in my life for nearly 41 years.
If you truly want to be happy. If you genuinely want to find peace. If you desire a life that is filled with satisfaction; stop holding on to anger and bitterness. Instead, begin to do good things and say kind words of encouragement; about and to, the very people that have caused your suffering. At first, you may not say or do these things directly to the person who hurt you. It is a good idea in the beginning, to say kind things about the one that has hurt you, in the presence of other people. As your heart begins to soften, and your mind is ready to accept a course of good deeds for those who have hurt you, then you can start to do things directly for these people.
If you can do this with a sincere heart and with the attitude that this is the right thing to do, then your heart will very quickly change and so will your life.
When Jesus said: “Forgive and you will be forgiven…” He was not talking about a deal that God will make with you to forgive your sins. He was speaking of what will happen to your heart, if you can truly forgive those who have harmed you. By forgiving, with your heart—what has happened, this display of forgiveness will effect every other part of your life. You forgive, you feel the effects of forgiveness: Peace, Joy, and Contentment.
How do I know these things? I learned them the hard way; by a very slow and painful process of 40 years. This is the only method that truly works.