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 MARCH - APRIL 2004
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COVER STORY: Dr. Carrie Carter - What Happens when the Doctor Becomes Ill?
5 Things You Should Know About Chronic Illness on the Job
Is it Safe to Buy Medication Online?
The Process Road
Lessons from the River
Is a Cruise for You?
The Lord Will Go Before You
You Hurt My Feelings!
What's in Your Handbag?
Effective Spring Cleaning with a Chronic Illness
But You Look So Good!
Talk Over Tea with the Editor
Tell Us Your Thoughts
Strive to Thrive Health News
Joy Bites
Strength in the Shadows
Volunteer Corner
Book Review: Spiritual Sunlight for the Weary
Ask the Doc
hopenotes: hopekeepers
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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.

Recently experiencing 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.

Acknowledge 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 Corinthians 5:18

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 12:17, 19-21).

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.

 


This article was featured in our March/April 2004 issue.
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