It’s interesting, yet incredibly sad, how often you hear of fractured family relationships or long-standing friendships that suddenly dissolve. What causes that to happen—a perceived slight, deliberate wounding, abuse, indifference, thoughtless words or actions? Whatever the inciting incident, unresolved hurt shapes lives.
Let’s look at what happens when you don’t deal with hurt:
Anger controls – When we’re hurting emotionally, anger is often present. Eventually, anger spills over into every aspect of life. When you wear a wide cape of anger, it doesn’t take much of a brush from some unsuspecting person or an innocent remark to spark your anger. And prolonged anger often turns into depression or resentment. If you’ve ever dealt with a person who is continually angry, you know the volatility of the person and the difficulty of those encounters.
Thoughts of revenge – When you’re controlled by unresolved hurt, you often think of ways to get back at the person who hurt you, or the people you perceive to be responsible for a situation in your life that caused hurt. Plotting revenge, even if you never intend to carry out the plan, wastes time and energy that could be spent in creative pursuits, learning, or helping others.
Negative focus – Unresolved hurt changes your outlook on life. You begin to see the worst in people and situations and find more things to complain about than praise. Complaining is a habit that quickly becomes a default response. And constant complainers eventually lose friends.
Health suffers – Often, we don’t realize the huge impact emotions have on physical health. Sleep problems increase. Blood pressure rises. Head and body aches and other physical symptoms surface. There are so many factors that impact health which are beyond your control. Don’t let something you can address, unresolved hurt, be one of them.
Distraction occurs – If you’ve ever tried to carry on a conversation or listen intently to someone else while doing a chore that requires concentration, you know either your task or your comprehension of the conversation suffers. Distraction also occurs when you’re focused on an emotional hurt while trying to do life. It’s hard to experience the present when you’re absorbed with the past. When your focus is on long-ago hurts, and yourself, you miss blessings that are happening right now all around you.
In order to move beyond the negative impact of hurt, you have to honestly look at what caused it. Dissect what happened. Rethink the event. Take ownership of any part of the hurt that was your responsibility. Then decide to forgive, let go of the hurt, and move on. The benefits of releasing hurt are so much greater than the lure of revenge.
“Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do.”I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (Romans 12:18-19 MSG)