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Responding to the Hurt of Being Hurt

If you’ve ever been hurt by someone, and I imagine you have, it’s hard to trust again. I remember a great disappointment I had years ago when a friend and church leader left the church I served and severed our friendship. When something like that happens, you don’t want to open up to others out of fear that more disappointment is on the horizon.

I’ve also been on the other side of that equation. I had to let a staff member go many years ago, and he felt I had betrayed him. In my heart I knew I hadn’t, but I hurt him nonetheless, and it took ten years before he was able to forgive me.

How do you love again if your love has been spurned? How do you reach out again if you’ve been rejected? How do you open yourself up again if you’ve gotten stabbed in the back?

A poet once wrote,

How did the rose ever open its heart,
     and give to the world all its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
     otherwise we all remain too frightened
                                           (The Gift: Poems by Hafiz).

Fear is a strong dissuader of friendship. But its only remedy is to do that which our wound tells us not to do—love once again. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

The problem with love is we think we have to manufacture it. We assume that love originates with us, but it doesn’t. “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and if we seek love, we must first seek God.

Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches. If we remain in Him, we bear much fruit, “for apart from [Him] we can do nothing” (John 15:5). To love again starts with our acceptance of being loved. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

If you’ve been hurt by another, you can choose one of three responses. First, you can lash out at the offender and be overcome with anger and bitterness. In so doing, your focus is diverted from Christ to the offender, and you deplete your love.

Second, you can internalize your pain and condemn yourself as someone who “deserved” what happened, because you’re a horrible person. In so doing, your focus is diverted from Christ to self, and you also deplete your love.

Third, you can release your pain to Jesus, come to Him, and let Him give you rest (Matthew 11:28-29). In so doing, your focus is diverted to the One who gives an endless supply of love. Drink of His love to heal your broken heart, and then, like the rose that opens with light and gives to the world all its beauty, you can open your heart and love once again.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

A Parade of Horribles

An attorney friend of mine told me that lawyers use a term called, “Parade of Horribles.” If there’s one bad event, it’s usually in a long line of bad events. But like most parades, one or two floats tend to get everyone’s attention.

Over the past several months, our nation has witnessed a Parade of Horribles. What grabbed our national attention this past weekend was the mass shooting in a small Texas church that claimed the lives of 26 parishioners. But that was only one tragedy in this procession of sorrow.

We will never forget the 59 killed and more than 500 injured on October 1st when gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

On September 24th, a gunman carrying two pistols opened fire as Sunday services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, killing one person and wounding seven others.

Closer to home, those of us in the Indianapolis region will remember September 21st as the day four people were murdered, which pushed the city to its 100th criminal homicide of the year.

As people search for answers, political pundits, lobbyists, agencies, and even entertainers are quick to add their voices to the cacophony of opinions. Some believe the problem is not enough gun control. Others postulate the problem lies with the Republicans. Mental health experts advocate increased restrictions on individuals demonstrating psychological disorders.

Wherever you land on these proposed causes, the one cause you will probably never hear on the news is this: We live in a fallen, broken world that will only be restored through Jesus Christ.

Of course, you would expect a preacher to say that. But regardless of the source, the message is true. Until we address the issue of the human heart broken from sin and in need of redemption, we will never reduce violence and rediscover peace.

A heart void of love gets filled with hate. There is no such thing as a moral vacuum that remains empty. The human soul is always filled with something.

This same attorney friend who introduced me to the term Parade of Horribles reminded me that the way to overcome evil is through the power of good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

That means that followers of Jesus should not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

Our world is in short supply of the value of life and the promise of peace. It’s time for us to step up and start filling the void that too often gets flooded with hate and leads to death.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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