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DESPITE BEING HURT Gaining a Positive Attitude

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PostPosted: Thu 4:49, 31 Mar 2011    Post subject: DESPITE BEING HURT Gaining a Positive Attitude

When we've been hurt by our spouse (or anyone else) our first instinct is to protect ourselves from being hurt again. The second tendency we usually have is to become bitter about how we feel victimized. It's only natural to fall into dealing with our hurts that way. But the Lord often asks us to go against our natural tendencies when He has a divine purpose involved which will benefit others beyond ourselves.
To protect ourselves isn't a problem because we aren't helping the person who's hurting us by allowing him or her to continue in such damaging behavior. We're actually helping them to sin — which isn't something the Lord asks us to do.
But becoming bitter after we've been hurt IS something the Lord tells us not to do. It isn't because He doesn't understand why we would feel this way, and doesn't feel compassion for us, but because He has a bigger plan involved — a plan that we may never understand this side of heaven— something He's asking us to trust Him with.
He also tells us to allow Him to take revenge instead of us. It would be helpful to keep in mind that just because we don't see God taking revenge according to the timing or the manner we think is appropriate, it doesn't mean that it won't be accomplished in some way in the future. It's a faith-walk we're traveling on this side of heaven and there are times when we just have to trust God and not lean upon our own understanding. As the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
God also asks us to forgive those who have hurt us. That's all the more difficult when the person isn't repentant. It requires monumental resolve to bring ourselves to the place where we release them from the wrath we want them to experience (and we often want to see them suffer). But again, when God tells us to do something, our reasonings don't excuse us from following through with what He's told us to do. He is God and we are not. As we're told in Isaiah 55:9,
As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Forgiveness is to be given unconditionally because we're told to give it by our God, and that's the way it is.
But in giving forgiveness, it doesn't mean the person is totally free to victimize us again, that we should also trust them, because we've forgiven them. Trust is something they earn. God has not told us to put trust into those who don't deserve it. And reconciliation isn't a requirement of forgiving the other person. Again, that is something the other person must work through with you. But holding onto unforgiveness or bitterness isn't something we're allowed to cling onto.
I believe part of the reason is for our own protection. Unforgiveness and bitterness most often hurts the victim more than the person who hurt us in the first place. It changes our whole countenance and the direction of our thoughts and most often, our actions. It eats up our joy and consumes the peace we can have within if we don't release it. And it usually spills over and hurts others as we share the emotions with them and often take it out on them in some way because we can't seem to hold our bitter emotions in as time progresses.
Studies have also shown that it also takes its toll on our health, causing all kinds of physical ailments because of the toxicity which bitter emotions emit into our bodies.
I believe these are some of the reasons (among others, including eternal reasons we may never understand in our lifetime) God requires us to get rid of any bitter and unforgiving feelings we may be holding onto. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:14-15:
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
It also challenges in Hebrews 12:1-3 where it says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
So, we're to trust God, forgive those who hurt us, and not become bitter or take revenge, even when we don't understand all the reasons behind any of those actions. It's trusting God's heart and motives, applying whatever "faith" we have to the whole matter. An acronym for "faith" is: F.A.I.T.H. = Forsaking All I Trust Him! The question is, do you? Do you trust Him, even when you don't understand what He's doing —even when He hasn't let you in on His plan? And, WILL you? Will you put your trust in Him?
But there's one more thing required in all of this. It's another thing that's really difficult (just as all of the other things have been). Will you thank Him, despite the pain? Will you live out what it tells us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18? In those verses we're told to:
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
That's really difficult isn't it? It's difficult enough to trust, forgive, not become bitter, and not take revenge, but to be joyful, despite the hurt and give thanks for what has hurt us? That seems almost cruel that God would ask us to go that far. The "praying continually" part isn't so difficult, and even the joyful part can be possible, because even in the midst of tears we can often find some things to laugh about and take pleasure in. But to give thanks in ALL circumstances — even the ones that have hurt us so very deeply, seems impossible!
Keep in mind, that "God never did anything to you that wasn't FOR you" (or for others in the grander scale of things for His kingdom sake).
And most often it isn't something that God did TO you, that you're suffering from, but rather it's something He ALLOWED to happen, for whatever reason He has decided. It's another thing we have to trust Him with. We live in a fallen world. When the world fell into sin, even the innocent began to suffer the consequences of hurtful things. God doesn't promise to protect us from every "trouble" that comes our way. We're warned in John 16:33,
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
In other words, we can count on having troubles in this world. Again, we live in a fallen world and people make stupid and sinful choices that hurt others who are innocent. God hates sin and the consequences, but He has promised us that we can have peace if we trust Him, and allow Him to redeem that which hurts us. We can also be confident that He has overcome the world and that in the final scheme of everything that happens, we can have peace.
With all of this said, we'd like to conclude the thought of "being thankful in all things" with something that Dr Gary Smalley wrote. We're going to take you to his web site [link widoczny dla zalogowanych] to do this. To go directly to the article.

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