How do you deal with life when people hurt you?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish you could just hurt somebody who has hurt you or a loved one? I’m talking about Old Testament style eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth type of revenge! Unfortunately, we’ll all pass through our own “valley of the shadow of death” at one time or another. It’s a dark time in our life where people who we trusted act in ways which hurt us and betray our confidence. It’s that moment where close friends abandon you, when leaders who you depended on betray your confidence, or when your own family treats you like a stranger.

How do you deal with life when people hurt you? Do you choose to get bitter or to get better?

Experience has taught me that bitterness can be such a bittersweet emotion. You revel when those who cause you pain are injured. You feel as though you’re winning the battle against people when your unethical behavior seems to pay off. Your entire mindset is focused on that individual, turning bitterness into resentment, and resentment into hate.

Don’t fall into that trap!

As Christians, we are called to model grace. It’s what Jesus did when he was on the cross and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). There will always be people who, out of whatever reason, seem to want to hurt you or impede you in some way. We just need to model Christlikeness in how we react.

As the old saying goes, hurt people hurt people. Some people will injure others because they themselves carry deep seated emotional baggage which they have never dealt with. They will lash out, not so much because of what was done or said to them, but because some interaction triggered their own pain. Many of these people are walking wounded, but they’ve been like that for so long they don’t even realize it. They destroy relationships with people who care for them simply because they are not healed from past trauma.

Some people will injure you because they are jealous. We’ve all heard people who gossip of others because they feel inferior in some capacity. For example, they are jealous that someone else has aspired in life. Or they are jealous of the marriage in which both spouses are still in love, since they don’t have that same type of relationship. Or they might be jealous of another’s career, looks, or abilities. In whatever case, their feelings of inferiority have manipulated their good sense and cause them to act in ways which hurt others.

Others still are just plain evil. They are sheep in wolves’ clothing who rejoice in messing with people. Sometimes these folks might pretend to be holy, upright, righteous people, yet their fruits demonstrate that they prefer to tear down rather than build up the body. Those who like to manipulate, bully, and abuse others fall into this category. They are misguided individuals whose own actions are leading them straight to hell.

Consider the words of Romans 12:17-19: “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with 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.”

Experience has taught me that we should never give people too much power in our lives. Negative actions against me should never negatively impact my relationship with Jesus. Don’t stop praying because someone told you something that you didn’t agree with. Don’t stop worshipping because someone talked bad about you. Don’t get depressed because people criticize your mistake. KEEP MOVING ON!

Change your perspective! Feel compassion for the people who try to harm you. Understand that those who need to resort to unethical tactics and actions are messed up individuals who need to find the grace of Jesus. No matter what happens, all men will one day give an account to God for their actions and the motives behind their actions. There is a peace associated when we trust God for his protection and continue to move forward in life in spite of what people try to do to us.

And we always pray for those who have wronged us. There is no joy better when we see those who have hurt us or betrayed us find redemption in Jesus Christ!