Loving Those Who Hurt You
Love is the unconditional commitment to the well-being of others. It is a gift from God and He has given us the perfect picture of love through the sacrifice of His Son. God’s grace is a result of His love for us. We are called to love one another regardless of our differences or if we feel we have been wronged. We are called to commit ourselves to loving others. This is a hard concept to comprehend sometimes. It’s easy to say that I love people, but when it comes to those who have hurt me, it can be so hard.
There was a girl who had been my friend for about eight years; we did everything together and anytime someone referred to one of us, the other’s name was mentioned right along with it. We went to school together, she started coming to my church, she switched to cyber school a few years after me, and we even worked at the same place our senior year of high school. However, over time she started to treat me poorly. She began to lie to me, and, suddenly, all the people who were my friends stopped speaking to me.
The pattern went like this: I would become friends with a family, she would go hang out with them, and then they stopped talking to me. This pattern went on for awhile and I was devastated every time. I wanted to know what I did wrong. I wanted to ask for forgiveness, change my ways, reconcile. When I approached her about it, she would always brush it off and say she had no idea what I was talking about. Yet, her actions never changed. I couldn’t believe someone who I considered my best friend could treat me so poorly.
It’s been years now since I’ve considered her a friend, but ultimately, she is still my sister in Christ. Sometimes that is hard for me to grasp; she’s my sister and I’m called to love her, even though she hurt me. Luke 6:27-28 says, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” When we are at the same social event, I have to set aside my pride, my hurt, my desire to give her a piece of my mind, and love her. Just as she had the freedom to choose to hurt me, I also have the same freedom to control how I respond to the hurt.
Forgiving someone who hurt you is difficult and watching people you care about become friends with someone who mistreated you is difficult. But consider this… I sin and hurt my relationship with God daily. You know what He does? He loves me and forgives me before I even get the chance to ask for His forgiveness. He extends His grace to me every second of the day and calls me His friend. So who am I to withhold grace, forgiveness, and love to someone who hurt me?
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12
At the end of the day you are truly responsible for your actions and how you choose to move on with those who have hurt you. That doesn't mean you have to stay friends with someone even if they show no desire to reconcile with you. It’s much healthier to accept the loss of a hurtful friend than to try and open a door they have closed. Take comfort in knowing that you can still fulfill your calling to love others simply by praying for them. If you happen to find yourself around them, be peaceable. The love of Christ will shine through you.
What ways can you show love to those who have hurt you?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a wife and mother to a new baby girl. I taught dance at a Christian dance studio for 9 years, earned a degree in welding and engineering technology, and have a passion for outreach. God has taken me on some amazing adventures that were sometimes difficult to walk through, but those were the circumstances He used to mold me into who I am today. That journey and molding process continues as my husband and our little family move around the U.S. with his job. We are excited to see what adventures God has in store for us next and what all He will show us that I get to share with others like you!