Have you felt a great divide in a relationship that could compare
with the parting of the Red Sea? In the midst of trying to redefine
who we are with chronic illness, we often encounter a torrent of
remarks that are hurtful. Sometimes, the "wounds from a friend
can be trusted," (Proverbs 27:6), because the remarks are made
out of ignorance: "If you just prayed about it more, God would
heal you." It hurts, but we know they aren't purposely trying
to hurt us. You may even feel abandoned as friends and companions
avoid you because of your wounds (Psalm 38:11). Or perhaps you've
felt that the comments from friends or family are outright abusive,
and you leave with tears flowing down your cheeks, wondering what
went wrong and how you can be so misunderstood.
conversation that left me feeling deeply hurt, I delved into the
Scriptures to discover how I could resolve it- preferably the relationship,
but at least peace in Christ and forgiveness. Even when the circumstances
feel unfair to us, we must be willing to open up our heart to learning
how to grow in Christ through it. These are the steps I've worked
through to gain peace and understanding in challenging relationships.
that God is allowing this circumstance to occur in your life. Pray
that He will reveal His purpose through this situation. Stop dwelling
on the one you feel has wronged you. Yes, your feelings were hurt,
but don't dwell on them, repeating the conversation over and over
in your head. This is not about you! Romans 8:6 says, "Obsession
with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads
us out into the open, into a spacious, free life" (The Message).
Read God's Word, pray for discernment and wisdom in interpreting
what you read, and ask God to be your strength. God is enough.
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through
Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." - 2
You don't need
the other person to apologize in order to find peace, nor do you
have to "get even" in order to have resolution. This is
between the Lord and you. As Renee Bondi mentioned in a past issue
of hopekeepers, think about such things: "whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever
is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,"
(Philippians 4:8) Make lists! You'll begin to feel better.
Take a close
look at your own actions, without comparing, "I wasn't nearly
as mean as my friend was!" Honestly ask yourself, "How
could I have made the situation worse? How could my actions have
been misinterpreted? What would I do differently if I could do it
again?" Galatians 6:4 says, "Each one should test his
own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing
himself to somebody else. . ."
Ever lay awake
at night going over the conversation? God understands and says,
"When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent,"
(Psalm 4:4). Ask God for forgiveness. Ask Him to convict you of
your wrongdoings so you can ask for forgiveness of the individuals
and of the Lord.
Do not seek
revenge or act cruel to the person, despite how they may have hurt
you. It's not in your hands, but in the Lord's. The Bible tells
us, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not take revenge,
my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It
is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord. On the contrary:
'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something
to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good," (Romans
Respond to the
one who has hurt you with a peaceful, calm heart. You will represent
a God who gives mercy. Ironically, God doesn't just let one off
the hook; He creates a turmoil of emotions within the other person.
When someone feels angry and guilty and you respond with kindness,
it can feel like burning coals on their head, because they are dealing
with shame over their own actions. Not fun!
You can read the rest of this article in the March/April 2004
issue. You can order this
back issue by clicking here.