Sometimes people may gossip about us or hurt us in some way. It is a natural part of human nature to feel angry and fight back. We see this all the time. In fact, in our culture, it is expected of us to defend ourselves. Many movies and reality shows are developed around the idea of getting even with someone. Many of us hold on to hurts that happened many years ago. We can’t seem to forgive, so we carry bitterness and hate for the one who harmed us. When we see them, our stomach gets knotted, and we either ignore them or say something inappropriate, so that they know they have hurt us.
I don’t believe this is the way Jesus wants us to live.Does this mean we should be a doormat, and let people walk all over us? Of course not. Each situation is different and must be handled in a special way, but in all cases, we should acknowledge our feelings to ourselves and to God. It is fine and natural to feel angry. Just acknowledge it to yourself.
There are many healthy ways to deal with such emotions. You can talk with a professional who will lead you to love yourself and help you forgive the person. You can write a pretend letter to the person and then tear it up. Regardless of which method you choose, bring your burden to God, first. Once you have calmed yourself and received insight, you can go directly to the person and in a composed manner let them know they have hurt you. This may take time, so do not rush the process. We can not force ourselves to forgive; we can only take steps toward forgiveness.
Once we work through our anger and hurt, we are able to see it from the others person’s point of view. Maybe they are insecure and needed to tear you down, so they could feel superior. Perhaps you earned a promotion that they think they should have received. Maybe they are under a lot of stress. Whatever it may be, does it make what they did right? No, but maybe you can understand their inappropriate action a little better.If we still feel angry and hurt, it may help to give those feelings to God, so you will no longer be trapped in anger and hurt. That step alone is a big accomplishment.
Sometimes, we want to hang on to our hurt feelings, thinking that, if we forgive the person, then it makes their action okay. That is not what I am saying, at all. Instead, I want you to realize that, just because we don’t agree with what they did, we are not going to let their actions keep us from loving others and forgiving them for hurting us.
It is also important to look within ourselves and reflect on why this person hurt us so much. Did we put to much importance on what they thought of us, instead of following Jesus? Did their action remind us of someone who hurt us a long time ago? What is it that wounded us so deeply? We can not change others, but we can change ourselves: this will give us a clearer understanding of the situation, and of ourselves.
When we are finally able to forgive the one who hurt us, we will feel free! We no longer have that knot in our stomach, and we are able to see the world with clear eyes. We are not letting the actions of one person influence our life, or as this Psalm above said, giving in to the “will of our foes.”