Or joy for that matter. What they do only has the power to rub you of joy and peace if you give them the power to do so. If we recognise that truth, then we can let offenses be. And move on!
He who lives in you is greater than he who is using the other person to try to hurt you. Can you see that? If we do, it is a lot easier to realise that when others do or say things to hurt us, they only have any power over us if we are not secure in the identity that is given to us by a loving gracious God.
So it is not whether the other person quits doing or saying offensive things that determine whether I am living a joyous and peaceful life, but how secure I am in the identity Christ has given me. And the only person who can change that is you. Because you taking the time to listen and absorb what Christ is saying to you is the only way to grab hold of the new identity that is being formed in you as you mature in grace.
Now that doesn’t mean that I will willingly subject myself to that kind of hurt day in and day out. I won’t! I will sidestep it whenever I can. But even in avoiding those situations, I will do so as graciously as possible.
When I don’t see them as the initiators of the hurt they are bringing to me, but simply as unwitting and unwilling accomplices in the con that Satan is playing against me, I feel no need to condemn them. I feel compassion for them. Because seeing the spiritual dimension also opens my eyes to my own participation in the con against others.
The truth that I am valuable, loved, and undeserving of the hurt people throw at me, cannot take firm root in me without my acknowledging that the same truth applies to the very person hurting me. To not see them as worthy of grace, is a perspective that robs that very truth of its power to take root in me.
I am not denying hurt and saying that if you change your perspective, you will never be hurt again. You need to be honest with your hurt and process it. I am saying though, that your perspective will change how you process that hurt.
When I say you need to be honest about the hurt, it is mostly being honest to yourself. Rarely does a confrontation with the offender really change much. And honestly, when those confrontations happen before you have processed your hurt, they are often more damaging than resolving. That is not to say that you won’t sometimes need to confront those that hurt you, but more on that some other time.
Being honest with ourselves and processing offenses properly involves accepting the fact that what that person said or did hurt. Don’t be nuts, none of us is so secure that we cannot be hurt. That is arrogance. Growth happens in humility. Humility accepts our limits then learns how to become greater and better from there.
Proper processing also involves introspection. I am not talking about intense navel gazing. That is unhelpful, and self absorbed. But I find myself asking why what that person did or said, robbed me of so much peace? Why did it rile me up like that? The truth is that often it is what we hate most about ourself that irks us in others.
When I see that, I can confront my own insecurity and bring it to God and deal with it in prayer with God. I can let His truth and His grace wash over my insecurities and heal me of the things that put me into easy-trigger offense mode.
If you are prone to fall into the dark pit of obsessive navel gazing, then don’t deal with it alone. Find a wise, spiritually minded person and ask them to help you process this honestly. I have found that helps keep me out of my tendency of obsessive introspection. (Yes, I can fall into that rabbit hole.)
Sometimes though, you will find that the offense coming back at you was an offense that you began. It is simply them lobbing the grenade back at you. Remember Friday’s post comparing offenses to grenades? In that case, careful processing and a little introspection may cause you to realize that you need to have a chat of reconciliation with that person. Starting with humility, you can diffuse the grenades with a gracious, no-finger-pointing confession of your fault, and ask that person for forgiveness.
I know we would like to believe that we are perfect, and I truly do hate to burst your bubble. I do wish you were perfect too. But alas, none of us are. So it takes a brave man, secure in the truth of who he is and is becoming to ask for forgiveness.
There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. But be careful you don’t start gossiping about the hurt others caused you. That will not help you move beyond