Lamech, one of Adam’s descendants, is a perfect example of this vicious cycle. We don’t know much about Lamech except for a brief thing he said to his wives, Adah and Zillah. “Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me” (Genesis 4:23). That’s it. That’s all we know but maybe we know enough. Retaliation in the midst of pain or even because of pain does not result in a more full life. Hurting others causes lives to be cut short, either physically or in quality.
Until our churches start more fully demonstrating 1 Thessalonians 5:23 we will be filled with people who live as spiritual infants when they should be fully grown adults. The church must learnt to deal with emotions in a biblical way if we are going to avoid the vicious cycle of hurting people hurting people. Here are some reasons hurt people tend to hurt people.
Hurting people interpret every word and deed through the prism of their pain.
Often when hurt people last out at other people its because they are fighting against the natural feelings of pain and suffering. In the midst of a trial its difficult to think of anything other than the trial you are in. At times hurting people aren’t even aware that they are hurting people. They feel they have to do something with their pain so they just transfer their hurt.
Hurting people don’t tend to be forgiving people.
“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained” (John 20:23). In the midst of trial you feel like you don’t have time to think about anyone other than yourself.
Hurting people tend to alienate from others and then wonder why no one is helping them.
This is a dangerous but real phenomenon. Often in the midst of our greatest trial we are so overwhelmed we wilt into a corner and stay by ourselves. As we weep alone we have by our own volition pushed away those who can help us most. In the back of our minds we are aware of this reality and we become bitter at those who are not there to help.
Hurting people can become overwhelmed with emotion when they are reminded of their pain.
This is especially true with the loss of a loved one. The distant memory of a vacation long ago or the family portrait of you with the loved one can trigger a flood of emotions. There are times when those around the hurting person will unintentionally trigger a memory of this pain.
Hurting people often keep themselves busy in an effort to forget their pain.
There are times when our drive to do something is not motivated by a love for God or others but a drive to accomplish and forget. The hurting person should not preoccupy himself or herself in an effort to forget and yet we do it all the time. This fabricated effort to forget pain will only lead to frustration, exhaustion, and tension in relationships.
Truly the mess of our pain can become our very message. When we are offended or wounded our pride jumps up from a semi-subdued state and marches on with a cry of, “This is my chance!” With the banner of a self-claimed pitiable position our pride hides behind hurtful retaliation. The truth is that hurting people in the midst of your pain will only bring more pain. None of the above points were meant to provide an excuse for the hurting person to continue hurting others. Rather, we must see these as warning signs in the valley of trials. The question is: how does a hurting person overcome hurt with good? If you are hurt and experiencing the pain of trial, here are some things you should do to deal with your pain in Christian way.
- Remember that you have not suffered first, nor have you suffered most.
- Acknowledge that your feelings are real but so are others.
- Be careful not to magnify your hurt.
- Don’t dwell on your pain. Focus on Christ in your pain.
- Involve God in your daily decisions.
Posted by Caleb