Several have made the observation that hurt people are inclined to hurt people. I have been told that by others to explain mean, hurtful, rude, and inappropriate remarks. Yet, since everyone experiences significant hurt (so the Holy Spirit said through Job in Job 14:1), why doesn’t everyone lash out and wound others as they suffer from their own and various “injuries”? Why do others, including those claiming to be Christians, seem inclined to injure others with especially their speech? It is good to get some perspective and not take personally the times someone cuts and slashes us or we witness a hurt person hurting someone else. While it never excuses bad behavior, it does help to understand it better. However, what can we say to the hurtful hurt person?
- Take your hurts to God’s throne. He is perfect and perfectly impartial (Acts 10:34-35). He also has all the facts and all the answers. He can help our life’s situations better than anyone else. Let Him help you bear the load.
- Don’t allow your pain to injure your influence or your spirituality. It is possible for us to earn a reputation as sarcastic, biting, mean-spirited, passive-aggressive, critical, etc. Yet, we never want to do anything that threatens to douse our Christian lights.
- Find healthy ways to work through the hurt. Prayer has already been mentioned. Loving, spiritual confrontation is another (cf. Gal. 6:1; Mat. 18:15ff). Part of healthy coping is avoiding the unhealthy.
- Focus intently on the spirit of the “Golden Rule.” Be sure that you would want said to you what you are tempted to say or if you’d want it said in the way you’re going to say it before you let it fly. It requires tremendous self-awareness and self-examination to successfully do this, but it can make all the difference.
- Try to move from hypersensitivity to genuine concern for others. We cannot keep our feelings on our sleeves and keep a record of wrongs done to us. It’s not loving (1 Co. 13:5). What is loving is to work to look out for the interest of others (Phi. 2:4).
- Measure the impact of your words before you say them. You cannot unsay things, so think it through first! The late Marshal Keeble once said, “Before we speak, we must chew our words and taste them and see if they are pleasant words.” If not, swallow them!
Since “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Pro. 18:21), we must make the choice to say words that heal rather than kill, that restore and do not demolish. We should never wish to contribute to another’s struggle to walk in the light or get to heaven, and we must consider how our words either encourage or discourage. If hurt people hurt people, what do saved people do?