Hurt People Hurt People

The worst pain I have ever had in my life is relational pain. There is a lot of pain and hurt that we all experience in life but there is something about relational pain. It just stings deeply. I can go back 5, 10, 15 years back in my life and think of things that hurt me deeply. Most of the time we have a vivid memory of that pain. It is really hard to let go of that. The reality is that some of you may be in relationships that are falling apart right now. And sometimes relationships do just fall apart. Sometimes it just happens we are not sure why. Sometimes our relationships fall apart because someone hurt us. Sometimes they hurt us in such a way that it seems impossible to rebound from that situation. Perhaps you are reading this right now and you are struggling some type of betrayal. With betrayal it is not just that someone hurt you. It is that someone hurt you that you thought could be trusted. That why it stings the way that it does. The bottom line is this – if we live long enough we are all going to get hurt. I have heard the phrase “Hurt people hurt people” many times in my life, and I have seen that over and over. I have even been guilty of doing just that. How about you? But what is equally true and what I think we need to embrace, especially as the church…Is as true as it is that hurt people, hurt people, Free people, Free people.

Sometimes you don’t forgive someone for their sake; you forgive them for your own freedom.

Here is the thing that I think a lot of us don’t understand. Bitterness never isolates itself with the source of the bitterness. We think that person hurt me, and I can isolate the bitterness. That I can go on with the rest of my life and I will be healthy in all my other relationships. We think we can isolate that anger and bitterness to that one particular relationship. It never works that way. I found that there are several obstacles to forgiveness. I am going to give you the top three…

1. Forgiveness is not condoning.

To forgive someone does not mean you condone what they did. Forgiveness is not getting to a point that you condone what they did to you. It is not excusing what they did to you. It is getting to this place that we can say because Christ has forgiven me I am forgiving you.

2. Forgiveness is not reconciling. 

I believe there is a huge difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. The reality is that as you go through life there are people that you need to forgive but that does not necessarily mean you are going to reconcile with them. In Romans 12 Paul says, if possible do everything you can to live at peace with one another. I find it interesting that he said “If Possible.” I don’t think you can always reconcile with another person, but I do believe that you can forgive another person.

3. Forgiveness is not Forgetting.

We tend to get hung up on this one. We think if I forgive someone then I have to forget something that happened in the past. That means if I can’t forget it then I can’t forgive it. That is just not true. Instead forgiving is an active process. Forgiving is deciding that you are not going to hurt them back. We have to forgive precisely because we cannot forget. You have to understand the difference between the two. Time does not heal all wounds. God does. This is not an easy thing. Forgiving someone is giving up the right to hurt someone for hurting me. Making the choice to free them instead of hurt them. My guess is that there are some of you that have been carrying this burden around for a long time. Forgiveness is a choice that we make. When you forgive someone it does not erase the hurt of your past, but it does erase the power that hurt has. When you forgive someone you allow the past to actually become the past. You have the power to say that this is not how my story is going to end. I am not going to allow the hurt, pain, and anger to contaminate everything else is my life. Who today do you need to decide to free rather than hurt? Sometimes you don’t forgive someone for their sake; you forgive them for your own freedom.