Hurt feelings destroy so many relationships. We all do and say things that often unintentionally hurt another. And in the course of life and relationships, our own feelings get hurt. Most of these slights and misunderstandings are just that, misunderstandings. There is the occasional intentional offensive action, but much of the time it’s unintentional.
At least that’s the way it used to be.
Today we see people taking to Facebook to say abusive things, curse profusely at those who do not agree with them, or more, and say things with innuendos because they are too cowardly to discuss their offense one-on-one with the person (which is the only way to seek resolution). It’s sad to see how mean-spirited and intolerant some people can be while demanding tolerance for “their” views. While we can’t change this in others, we can work on our relationships and especially ourselves.
After years of working with people and observing my own shortcomings, I’ve come to the conclusion that our egos, or may I say our pride, gets in the way of relationships. We’re all looking for others to make us feel special, valued, and even exceptional; and when others fail to do what we need, we get our feelings hurt, we retreat, or sulk, or punish the other person with our withdrawal. I’ve watched friendships be destroyed, marriages broken, families devastated, businesses fail, and worse, God’s Kingdom hindered, because we bruise easily and our pride keeps us from mending the hurts.
Social media has created an opportunity for people to take their hurts to a whole new level of name-calling. For a generation that has been indoctrinated with tolerance messaging, when their toes get stepped on, they are the most intolerant versions of themselves.
It’s that type of pride that makes us expect the other person to fix things while neglecting any personal responsibility. Of course that’s the message being pushed in this hour, to live for the moment and do what feels good instead of what is right because it’s right.
The culture is out of control, and we can’t afford to fall into their divisive worldly attitudes, which lead to rebellious ways. “There is a way that seems right but ends in destruction.” If we follow celebrity culture, we will end up with their results—over 80 percent divorce rates and the highest incidences of drug/alcohol abuse and early deaths/suicides in the culture. And these are our role models? They’re the ones who tell us how to believe and how to vote, what’s right and what’s wrong? They’re supposed to be role models for our lives and children? I don’t think so! Yet they are fueling the division they scream against.
That’s the confusion of the hour. In the last days, people will be lovers of self, lovers of pleasure, lovers of money, abusive, slanderers, disobedient to parents, boastful, and proud. Sound familiar? To stay true to God’s purpose for lives, we must divorce celebrity values and realign our beliefs and actions with something higher than paid actors.
I’ve been married 34 years and have raised a successful family and experienced solid financial freedom while all along the way struggling to swim upstream—with the culture quick to mow my family down if allowed. We continue to experience a good life because we didn’t take the short route to success through compromise. We were tempted at times, and, yes, there was a price to go against the grain, but I’m grateful we did! Sure, we’ve made some mistakes along the way, but God has a way of helping us all course correct when we correct our attitudes and humble ourselves before His Word and ways.
Recently a female minister said on social media, “We don’t need more truth tellers…” I couldn’t disagree more. We do need to tell the truth (with love). It is the truth that sets people free.
Jesus is not a way to truth; He is THE way.
We must be careful to say the truth with the least offense, but it has to be truth nonetheless. And expect it will often be offensive to those who are rebelling against it. I’m so glad someone told me the truth when I was a mixed-up, young woman headed down a road of destruction. I heard it. I heeded the correction and today my life has the fruit of my changed choices.
We must make sure our ways mirror the Word of God if we are going to live free and inherit the blessings of God for our lives. This is not the hour to compromise to keep from getting our feelings hurt. And at the same time, we shouldn’t be on a mission to blast people with offensive actions or attitudes.
The enemy is looking for an open door in all of our lives. Getting our feelings hurt and harboring an offense over it is the number one way I know he enters lives—next to blatant disobedience or rebellion.
What should we do when we get hurt? First, pray. Pray and ask God to help you sort through your hurt. Hurt usually leads to offense, then anger, and then paybacks through disloyalty and betrayal. Which phase of the pathway are you at? God always helps us see things through His eyes. It minimizes the offense and helps us see our lack of innocence in the situation.
I once saw a Facebook post where a Christian was calling out another Christian for saying some offensive things and for judging a situation unfairly and being insensitive. Of course, people began to pile on the offenses, insults, and judgments and suggesting paybacks to justify their friend’s hurt. It was clear that they were all guilty of the very thing that they had accused the other person of in the first place.
Prayer helps us see things as they are, not as we justify ourselves to “feel.” It’s much easier to forgive others when we realize just how much forgiveness we need. Pray and then choose to forgive just as God chose to forgive us through Jesus.
Forgiveness is different than compromise. We cannot compromise what God says about a subject in order to “love” someone. We love the person, and we can embrace a person but not embrace sin as acceptable. But first, we must get the plank out of our own eye.
Once we choose to forgive by faith in the work of Jesus, now we have a right mind and heart toward the other person. If we need to talk this situation out, then the Holy Spirit will show us how to go about it in a spirit of love and will also show us the right timing.
There are situations that are better left unspoken—when we have harbored something in our heart, we can deal with God alone. Then there are times we must go and talk through situations with others in a true spirit of humility and desire for reconciliation. We must hear how and when to do this from the Holy Spirit. Regardless of how other people may get offended or react in life, we can stay free from offense when we honor God and the people He made and loves. The Golden rule to “do unto others the way you would want them to do unto you” is still golden.
Next time you are hurt, don’t take to Facebook. Take the following three simple steps:
- Develop a “Plan of communication and restoration.”
For more on keeping your feelings in check, get my latest book, Better than You Feel.