Ever wonder why we tend to hurt those closest to us? Why is it that so often we treat complete strangers with more care and respect than those we love the most? I know I’ve been on both ends of this odd phenomenon. I’ve been hurt and I’ve done the hurting.
Practically speaking, we spend more time around those we love and so they are more likely to be on the receiving end of our cranky moods and they are more likely to annoy us with their quirky habits. Plus, there is more safety found in a close, loving relationship than with a stranger. A family member is more likely to offer grace and forgiveness than a mere acquaintance. A close friend is more likely to remember all of our good traits and the fun experiences, which hopefully outweigh our less than stellar ones.
And yet… they actually deserve the best of us, not the worst!
I think it is safe to say that we would all be wise to take a deep breath, count to 10, and guard our tongues so that we don’t lash out at those dear to us. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” But what do we do when we are on the receiving end of the hurt?
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Holding onto the hurt leads to bitterness, which ultimately imprisons us. Forgiveness is the key to freedom. No, forgiving does not excuse the behavior that caused the hurt in the first place. Forgiving another does not magically make you forget what happened nor does it instantly repair the relationship. However, forgiving those who hurt us is what Jesus asks us to do. He knows it is what is best for our heart. Plus he wants us to extend the same grace and kindness to others that he first extended to us. We tend to hurt because we’ve been hurt. Remembering this helps us extend kindness and compassion as well. Additionally, when I am secure in my identity as God’s beloved daughter, I can more easily extend grace, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion to those who have hurt me.