Lessons in Love: When You've Been Wounded
It’s time for my last installment of the Lessons in Love* series. Today, we are going to tackle how to love when you have been wounded.
Right up front I want to tell you this is a hard topic to write about. I can tell you all the things I have learned from studying the ways of Jesus, but truth be told, it is simple to understand and incredibly hard to live out. We are human and our feelings act as a first line of defense. I would tell you that they have your best interest at heart, but that just isn’t so. They have safety and keeping you from feeling pain as their number one priority. They do not look to choose the path that will lead to maturity and growth. They do not look to point you to Christ and partaking in suffering with Him. No, they look to keep you safe and justify any ugly behavior that results from your being hurt.
Feelings—although wonderful in so many ways—are not our ruler and should not be given the steering wheel. They need to submit to our spirits that are submitted to God.
Also, in keeping with my push for honesty, I have to admit that my feelings are big and can overwhelm my spirit on a daily basis. *feelers unite* But if a bonafide professional feeler can overcome this with Jesus, anybody can. Because Jesus plus nothing is everything.
It is never going to be my own strength that walks through a situation where I am being wounded and only give off love and honor in return. It will be Christ coming through the cracks in my heart.
I am going through a Lent study where we are reading the book of John. I have been asking Holy Spirit to open my eyes to new ways of looking at these well-worn passages. Today, I read the part in chapter 5 where Jesus heals the man lying beside the pool of Bethesda. It’s the Sabbath, yet He heals, but it gets even more brazen as Jesus tells the man to pick up his mat and walk (verse 8). The thing that tipped the Jewish leaders off was the guy carrying his mat on the Sabbath (Which begs the question, why didn’t they notice that the guy that had been lame for 38 years was just walking around?! But another thought for another time).
The man didn’t know who healed him and so it seemed a dead issue. Later, this same man encounters Jesus again and Jesus challenges him to turn from sin or something worse may happen (verse 14). Here’s where it gets off kilter. I mean, if you were just miraculously healed by someone and they spoke some truth to you, don’t you think it would behoove you to take it into consideration? But not this guy, he immediately turns around and gives up Jesus’ identity to the Jewish leaders (verse 15).
I have read this story several times in my tenure as a Christian. But I missed this little verse tucked into a miracle story. Jesus spoke truth and called this guy to higher living and he decided to use that opportunity to pass the identity of his healer on to the leaders who were building a case against Him.
That sounds like a perfect scenario for being wounded. Jesus was betrayed by a guy that only benefitted from knowing Him. The thing is, Jesus probably already knew this guy was not going to appreciate his healing. He did it anyway, because His main goal in all He did was to glorify God—always. And if we are followers of Jesus, we should have the same goal in all we do.
I can’t think of any greater glory for God to get than for people to see us treating everyone around us with love, even if they don’t seem to deserve it.
This life is not about feeling safe or doing what feels right, because our feelings are not the direct link to God—our spirits are. In times of hurt, we need to get quiet at the feet of Jesus and bring our feelings to Him. Be honest and open, be hurt, disappointed, frustrated, angry, all of the above, but don’t let those feelings be on your actions committee. We sacrifice the right to be only out for ourselves when we sign on to a life lived to please God. He has a higher perspective and we need to submit our Personal Survival Plan (run by emotions and selfish motives) to His Ultimate Eternal Plan (run on eternal, biblical perspective).
In the day-to-day application this looks like refusing to allow the wounds by others to dictate your reactions. It looks like checking in with your heart regularly to make sure your actions toward someone who has wounded you reflect the love of Christ. It also looks like running to the feet of Jesus as many times as it takes to be real about how you feel, but know they don’t control you. And finally, it looks like prayer. Prayer for your heart, your ability to live out what you know God is calling you to, and prayer for the one who wounded you. Because the absolute truth is, God loves them as much as He loves you and He wants all of us to live restored, whole lives reflecting His redemption story.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.