Have you ever had a past hurt resurrect itself in a way that causes hurt to someone else? Recently, a painful relationship from my past resurfaced in an unexpected way, causing me to injure a friend. All the pain and anxiety I’d previously experienced came crashing back, like a tsunami. I’d let the fear of being hurt again cause me to lash out at a friend. I knew immediately I needed to make amends. I didn’t want to be the catalyst for someone else’s pain.
Find Solace in the Lord. My first reaction to my friend’s hurt was regret. I knew I’d messed up. And it took some time and reflection to even understand why I reacted the way I had. Finally, I realized my deep-seated hurt from the past had never been resolved. For years it had smoldered inside of me, lying idle until a similar instance forced it to the surface.
It was then I sought the Lord’s comfort and direction. Through prayer and scripture the Lord revealed to me the root of my pain. As the tears began to flow, my regret turned to humility, then finally melted into peace.
Seek Forgiveness. I knew then the Lord had forgiven me. The Almighty God of the universe understood my pain and wiped my slate clean. What a wondrous feeling to know God loves us unconditionally. No matter how many times we fail Him or each other, He’s there waiting to welcome us back with open arms.
Yet, God’s forgiveness was only the beginning. I knew I needed to seek forgiveness from the friend I’d hurt as well.
Make restitution. After finding peace and seeking God’s forgiveness, I felt the tug on my heart to call my friend and express my sorrow for having hurt her, and she was gracious enough to extend forgiveness. It isn’t easy to admit our faults, or to overlook the faults of others. But to do so, frees the spirit and allows God to mature us inwardly.
Release past hurts. One step remained. I had to allow God to cleanse away the hurts from my past. I needed to let go of the painful memories and offer forgiveness to the one who’d hurt me. Not an easy task when that hurt spanned nearly two decades. But the Lord is patient. He will see forgiveness through to completion.
If you’re been on the giving or receiving end of hurt (and at some point, we all have), know that you aren’t alone. The Lord has promised to be “near the brokenhearted and to save those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). And for that, I’m truly grateful.