My dilemma

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Introduction

Two people have hurt me badly in the last few weeks. In both cases, after some thought, I was honest with those involved, expressing my response as lovingly as I could. However, they both reacted with anger and blame. Sadly, offering to meet for reconciliation has brought no response.

Since then, I repeatedly go over all that happened, which generates a constant, painful, and exhausting sense of dread.

The crux of my anxiety is that when someone hurts me, I don’t know whether I should speak out, or say nothing. Each approach has different consequences.


What did Jesus say and do?

As always, I look for guidance in Jesus’ teaching and example. However, he taught, and displayed, both outspoken and silent ways of responding to hurt and injustice, which I find confusing.

Until his arrest, Jesus always spoke the truth in love when people criticised or insulted him. He was, in fact, very direct. His honesty made him a lot of enemies, and contributed to his death.

After his arrest, Jesus said very little, no matter what he was accused of, and how he was treated. This puzzled his captors, perhaps antagonising them even more.

Over the years, I’ve tried both approaches. What happens when I follow Christ’s example in these two, very different, ways?


A. Speaking out

When I “speak the truth in love”, it almost always backfires. The person I’ve been honest with turns on me, angrily blaming me for what I said, even though it was their own hurtful behaviour towards me that I spoke about. I then react to their hostility with my characteristic chronic dread.


B. Saying nothing

When I say nothing, I simply allow the other person to hurt me, absorbing the pain and damage, just as I did with my emotionally abusive mother. Without feedback, of course, there is a risk that they may continue to damage me. This makes me feel helpless and powerless, worsening my chronic depression.

Either way, I can easily end up feeling as if life is not worth living.


Forgiveness

Fortunately, Jesus is absolutely clear that whether we speak out or say nothing, we should always forgive those who hurt us. This applies even if they never recognise what they have done, and never say they are sorry.


Conclusion

When people hurt me, I ruminate endlessly about how I responded, and what went wrong. Whether I speak out or say nothing, the outcome is equally damaging for my mental health.

Worse still, I also feel guilty for having “caused” the other person to strike back angrily at me, and to hate me from then onwards.

So, when someone hurts me, should I speak out, or say nothing? I still don’t know the answer to this question, which has plagued me all my life. All I can do is to pray for those who hurt me, asking God to guide and heal us all.

Image: Himsan, Pixabay


References

Introduction

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me (Psalm 41:9; NLT).


What did Jesus say and do?

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33; NIV).

The leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise (Mark 15:3-5; NLT).

If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-4; NLT).


A. Speaking out

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV.

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).


B. Saying nothing

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

You have taken away my companions and my loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7;NIV).

Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? (Job 3:16; NLT).


Forgiveness

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).


Conclusion

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT)

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

He will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT).

Image: czu_czu_PL, Pixabay

Healing

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love
and tender mercies (Psalm 103:2-4; NLT).

1. Thank you, Father,
For your love:
The wounds you wash,
The way you care.

2. Thank you, Father,
For your peace:
The minds you mend,
The joy you share.

3. Thank you, Father,
For your truth:
The hearts you heal,
The Son you gave.

4. Thank you, Father,
For your fire:
The bonds you break,
The souls you save.

References

1. God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

Wash me clean from my guilt (Psalm 51:2; NLT).

He […] binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3; NIV).

He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7; NLT).

2. The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).

When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind (Mark 5:15; NIV).

God [is] the source of all my joy (Psalm 43:4; NLT).

3. The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).

He heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3; NIV).

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; NLT).

4. God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).

I will break the yoke off their necks, and will tear off their bonds (Jeremiah 30:8; NIV).

Lord, you are the God who saves me (Psalm 88:1; NIV).

Without you

Father,
Without you
I’m nothing –
Life is meaningless
And brief.

Jesus,
Without you
I’m broken –
Life is harsh
And full of grief.

Spirit,
Without you
I’m barren –
Life is only pain
And dread.

Mary,
Without you
I’m lonely –
Life is dark,
And love has fled.

References

I am nothing but dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27; NIV).

I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:17; NLT).

How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! (Job 14:1; NLT).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

The godless are barren (Job 15:34; NLT).

Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

Thank you for my life

Thank you for my life, Lord,
My exile here on earth,
For all I have experienced
And learned.

Thank you for my wounds, Lord,
My healing at your hands;
For all the care I’ve welcomed
And returned.

Thank you for my darkness, Lord,
My losses, and my grief;
For all the times I’ve laid awake
At night.

Thank you for my sins, Lord,
My sorrow and my shame;
For all the ways I’ve tried
To put things right.

Thank you for your gifts, Lord,
Your blessings, and your joy;
For all the fears
I’ve worked to overthrow.

Thank you for my home, Lord,
My kindred, food, and drink;
For all the ways I’ve had to change
And grow.

Thank you for your teaching, Lord,
Your pattern, faith and hope;
For all the sickness
I have had to face.

Thank you for your crown, Lord,
Your forgiveness, and your love;
My birth, life, death, and, most of all,
Your grace.

References 

When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me (Ezekiel 20:41; NLT).

Though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal (Job 5:18; NLT).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-4; NIV).

Be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies (Psalm 103:2-4; NLT).

God saved you by his grace when you believed (Ephesians 2:8; NLT).

I am content

 

Lord,
I am content
With what you send.

Health and illness
Both flow from your hand;

Poverty and plenty
From above –

You know what I need,
For you are love.

 

Lord,
I am content
With what you give.

Joy and grief
Are lessons I must live;

Disaster, healing touch,
Smooth path, or rough –

You know what I need,
And that’s enough.

 

Lord,
I am content
With what you grant.

May I learn to face
What you command;

For you, Lord, suffer with me,
Like your Son,

And you know what I need –
Your will be done.

 

References

Be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38; KJV).

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11; NIV).

Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal (Job: 5:17; NIV).

Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him (Matthew 6:8; NLT).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases (Isaiah 53:4; NRSV).

Your will be done (Matthew 6:10; NLT).

 

8.11.13.

Hello, my name is Ruth, and I’m a Christian, Catholic, Celtic writer. I live with chronic fatigue, invasive breast cancer, neuropathic pain, and various other medical conditions. I also have extensive experience of panic, agoraphobia, depression and anxiety, both personally and professionally. Whilst I’m praying I often have insights, which I try to express in writing. Then I share them with others via my website, twitter and Facebook.

I publish a short, original blog each day, praying for all those who read it, as well as for all those who do not. I very much hope you will find something on my site that interests or helps you, and I welcome feedback and correspondence.

With best wishes, from Ruth xxxx

http://www.ruthkirk.org

Abba, Father

Abba, Father, 
I love you;
And, to my amazement, 
You love me. 

Abba, Father,
I love you;
And, to my delight,
You set me free. 

Abba, Father,
I love you;
And, to my relief,
You heal my soul.

Abba, Father,
I love you;
And, to my great joy, 
You make me whole. 

 

References

Because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

I have paid the price to set you free (Isaiah 44:22; NLT).

He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3; NKJV).

He was beaten so we could be whole (Isaiah 53:5; NLT).

Contemplation

Father, 
When I come to you in silence 
My body can’t be left outside the door;
So I share my pain and sickness with you,
Then I find they trouble me no more. 

Father,
When I search for you in stillness  
Endless thoughts and fantasies hold sway;
So I share all my istractions with you, 
Then I find they slowly drift away.

Father, 
When I seek you out in private 
Painful feelings can’t be pushed aside; 
So I share my rage and sorrow with you,
Then I find they quietly subside. 

Father,
When I wait for you in darkness 
Terror sometimes shakes me to the core; 
But I share my fear and anguish with you,
Then I let them go, Lord, and adore. 

 

References

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10; NIV). 

When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private (Matthew 6:6; NLT).

Wait for the Lord (Psalm 37:34; NIV).

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35; NIV).

We adore you as the one who is over all things (1 Chronicles 29:11; NLT).

Exile (Isaiah 9:1-7; NRSV).

Lord,

I spent my early years
In bondage;
My teens and twenties
Trying to escape.

My thirties in the desert
Of depression;
My anxious forties 
In a pathless waste.

My fifties brought me    
To your promised freedom,
A land where I could start
To change and grow.

My sixties came with sickness,  
Loss, restriction,
Yet love and joy at last  
Began to flow. 

How many years remain? 
I cannot guess, Lord.
At present, I have time 
And space to pray –

No longer far from you,
Condemned to exile, 
I dwell in you, and you in me,
Each day. 

 

References

We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand (Deuteronomy 6:21; NLT).

He has known your walking through this great wilderness (Deuteronomy 2:7; HNV).

He chose the Promised Land for our inheritance (Psalm 47:4; NLT).

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

You love him even though you have never seen him […] and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8; NLT).

All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

The yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken (Isaiah 9:4; NRSV).

 

Dreams

Every night, I dream, Lord,
Of my failures;
Failure to be liked,
And to fit in.

Two failed degrees.
No genuine career, Lord;
Failure to be beautiful,
And slim.

Failure as a daughter,
Wife, and mother;
Failure as a grandmother,
And friend.

Failed health, Lord God,
Both physical and mental;
Failure as a person, 
In the end. 

Failure after failure  
In my faith, Lord;
Failure in my thoughts,
And words, and deeds,

So, here I am, now,
Bowing low before you,
With little to give back,
And many needs.

For I amount to nothing;
I have failed you; 
But you, Lord, are the High Priest
Who redeems;

Please fold me in your arms
For evermore, Lord,   
Then I will sleep, protected from 
My dreams.

 

References

Exalt the Lord our God! Bow low before his feet, for he is holy! (Psalm 99:5; NLT).

I am poor and needy, and my heart is full of pain (Psalm 109:22; NLT).

I am nothing but dust and ashes (Genesis 18:27; NIV).

O Lord, you are our Father (Isaiah 64:8; NLT).

So Christ has now become the High Priest […] With his own blood – not the blood of goats and calves – he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever (Hebrews 9:11-12; NLT).

He took the children in his arms (Mark 10:16; NLT).

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe (Ezekiel 34:25; NLT).