No one wants to experience hurt, much less deep hurt, but life certainly throws situations our way that can be very hard for us to recover from. There is hurt and there is deep hurt, and you better believe there is a difference between the two.
Deeply hurtful experiences include (but certainly are not limited to) a painful divorce, adultery, betrayal of one’s confidence, a shattered reputation, rape, abuse over a prolonged period, flagrant injustice and much more.
Most of us have either heard about or been through some level of deep hurt and what can be most difficult is getting over the pain and moving on with life.
If you have been through a deeply hurtful situation, I greatly sympathize and also empathize with you. In this blog post I am going to share with you one powerful perspective that can greatly help you to learn from that deeply hurtful experience and also, you will learn how to get over the deep negative feelings associated with the hurt involved.
Although this blogpost will only deal with one of the ways to overcome the pain associated with a deeply hurtful experience, you can get much more information in the devotional 21 Days To Forgiveness. This devotional will take you through the process of forgiveness in a step by step manner and help you to get over the pain associated with yesterday’s hurtful experience.
Exalt God’s purpose above Your feelings
Forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you is a process, but let me add quickly - it doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process. Although Forgiveness can be difficult, it is not only necessary but possible. And guess what? Forgiveness carries with it your emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. So let’s learn how we can begin this process of forgiveness, for there is absolutely no advantage for us to constantly walk around with a ‘woe is me’ demeanor.
Forgiveness Defined - We can define Forgiveness as the process whereby we release someone from bearing the fault of their offense toward us.
It is not about a feeling, but the truth is, when we truly forgive we feel differently. When we are in an unforgiving state we tend to be bitter, angry, or hateful people, depending on how deep the feelings of un-forgiveness reside. However, when we choose to release the person form bearing the fault of their offense toward us, we are free from those unforgiving feelings.
So the question is - how? How do we move to the forgiving realm?
There are many steps I will share with you, but in this blog-post I will share one of the most powerful ways we can begin to move on after being hurt deeply. As mentioned above, in later blogposts I will share more on this same topic.
When we want to get over the deep hurts of yesterday, we have to consciously choose to exalt God’s purpose above our feelings.
This is one of the most important and powerful points to bear in mind.
Our hurt has a way of becoming the focal point of everything and the tendency that we all have when we have been hurt is to become myopic and inadvertently we can think that the whole world stops, or should stop because we are hurting.
We all know the saying ‘life goes on’, but it actually stops for some people. After a hurtful experience some people go into a shell for years upon years and never quite seem to return to normality. All sorts of mental sicknesses abound in the lives of individuals who have never gotten over a hurtful experience and life becomes one filled with medications for trying to cope with the pain of the past.
This is certainly not the best for any of us. But, how can we make sure our hurt doesn’t drive us to this place of emotional blackness?
Again, please read this slowly. In order to protect ourselves from allowing hurt to become our slave master, we must actively exalt God’s purpose above our feelings. This means that instead of constantly focusing on what we have gone through we begin looking at the ‘why’?
The ‘why’ is more important than the ‘what’.
Focusing on what we have gone through is not a solution oriented approach. People who keep focusing on what they went through tend to have repeated hurtful experiences. This is because they refuse to learn the ‘why’ of their experience.
It doesn’t matter how painful the experience was, we have to learn to look at the ‘why’ so that we don’t repeat the ‘what’. What is interesting is that the more we focus on the ‘why’ we are simultaneously helping along the healing process we so desperately desire.
Believe it or not, there is purpose in everything we go through. Let me say that for you again: there is purpose in EVERYTHING we go through.
Remember, Jospeh, the son of Jacob. He went through many painful years. He was hated by his own brothers, trafficked, and lied upon. After all of that, he spent a few years in prison for something he didn’t do; he helped out a couple of prisoners who then forgot all about him - and this ‘helped’ him to spend more time in prison. And all this happened over a thirteen year period. Jospeh had good reason to be a bitter and angry man - but he wasn’t.
He didn’t focus on all the wickedness done to him - instead, he chose to look at why he went through his ordeal. Look at what he said to his brothers - the guys who sold him into Egypt and were seemingly responsible for all his pain - he said:
“But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).
Jospeh chose to look on the fact that God had purpose in the pain and God’s purpose being accomplished was more important than his feelings. Had Jospeh not gone through his painful ordeal millions of people would have died of starvation. God had a plan and it saved millions of lives and guess what? Jospeh was instrumental in the plan.
Now the part that is very comforting is that God did care about Jospeh’s feelings. Jospeh was restored to his brothers and there was a change in their hearts towards him. They no longer hated him and that was very important to Joseph.
The Lord granted him a loving reunion with his brothers, but please note - the reunion occurred BECAUSE of the purpose of God. In other words, BECAUSE Jospeh went through his painful ordeal, the opportunity to reunite in a loving manner with his brothers was made possible.
Maybe your story isn’t finished as yet, but please understand that God’s purpose must be exalted above your feelings. But at the same time also remember that the Lord cares about your feelings. Look at what the Word of God says:
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The Lord deeply cares for us, so even though we should focus on God’s purpose, He has a way of healing the hurt we so deeply feel as His purpose is being worked out. Never forget that!!
I also want you to remember our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He went through the most painful ordeal on the cross. He was deeply hated by those he passionately loved. He was mercilessly crucified BUT God had a great purpose in the pain of the cross. He told us:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Through the excruciating pain of the cross, God brought purpose - salvation to anyone who believes in Jesus.
When we choose to focus on God’s purpose in the midst of the pain, we are definitely on the road to forgiveness. Looking at God’s purpose in the midst of our pain actually does three powerful things to us:
1) It helps to MINIMIZE the hurt
AS we choose to look on God’s purpose being fulfilled through our painful situation we stop focusing on the hurt we are feeling. It is not a bad thing to feel hurt, but please bear in mind that hurt quickly moves our hearts to hate. So we need to learn to deal with the hurt as quickly as possible. We don’t want to be spending all our life in a jail cell because of yesterday’s hurtful experience.
The more we look at the fact that God has a purpose in our pain our focus is changed from our hurt to God’s plan. And the more we see God’s plan we will actually rejoice that we went through that painful experience. We have all heard someone happily declare: ‘I wouldn’t be here today had I not gone through that experience’. We can all have a testimony like that if we are willing to focus on God’s purpose instead of our feelings.
2) It helps us not to demonize the offender
The more we focus on God’s purpose being fulfilled the easier it is to get over the pain of the experience. When we can make sense of the pain, it becomes easier to bear it and eventually overlook it. This allows us to more easily forgive the person who has offended us. In un-forgiveness, we tend to demonize the offender, but let us remember:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We see people differently when we choose to look at life through the lens of God’s purposes.
3) It helps us to REJOICE.
You might find this last point strange, but when we choose to look at the fact that God is going to use this painful situation in a mighty way, we have good reason to rejoice. As a matter of fact we are commanded to rejoice in our pain! Look at what God’s Word declares:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Our trials tend to produce sadness, but God tells us to rejoice because of what those trial produce in us - mature complete disciples of Christ. God is a purpose driven God and everything He allows in our life is somehow pushing us towards His perfect plan for our lives. We must never allow the present hurt to blind us to this powerful truth. Remember Romans 8:28 declares:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In the next blog post we will be looking at more steps we can take to forgive after deeply hurtful experiences, so stay tuned in.
Perhaps you are reading this because you are currently struggling with a deeply hurtful experience and you’re not sure how to move forward. If you’re looking for godly and Biblical advise I would strongly recommend the devotional 21 Days To Forgiveness. It has been used to help hundreds of people overcome the hurts of yesterday and walk in newfound freedom.