Has anyone ever hurt you before? I mean, said or done something that hurt you so bad it was like they were punching you in the gut? And maybe it happened at a time when you already felt out for the count and so it was more like getting kicked while you were already down?
I recently experienced this and I was tempted to harbor a lot of anger and bitterness about it. A lot of self-pity, a lot of "Why does this always happen to us?" kind of feelings. Okay, I was more than tempted. I did have anger. I did question. I wanted other people to know about this injustice. I really regret that because I just dragged them into my negativity. On top of that I know it made others think badly of the person. The truth is, it would have been one thing if it were someone who consistently hurt my feelings or did me wrong. They're not. In fact it was the person that made the situation that much harder because they were the last person I would have expected it from. To quote the super spiritual Clark Griswold from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation", "If I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpet I couldn't be more surprised." :) It was one of those situations.
The person apologized and things were made right. Except my heart. It still wanted to feel angry, hurt and mistreated. Of course, God never lets me get away with that. The more I thought about it the more I felt like He began to bring certain experiences from my life to mind. Things I've said, fits I've thrown, bad decisions from years ago. And I felt like He was asking me, "What if this moment was in a freeze frame and it was all people knew about you?" *Shudder* Have you been there? Do you have those moments in your life? I wanted to get on my knees and beg, "NO! Not that time! Not that moment! Not those words! Anything but THAT time!"
Fortunately, I don't have to beg. I've already been forgiven and those sins wiped away. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 1:7 It is tempting to find security in that forgiveness and forget that it is not only offered to me. One of my favorite stories is in John chapter 8. It is about a woman who was physically caught in the act of adultery. In those days the law said that she should be stoned. The "religious" people came to Jesus and asked what he thought they should do. He answered, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first."
Many times we use that story to justify our own sin. To tell people they shouldn't judge us. This story is a different ballgame when we are the ones who have been wronged and realize that we have no stone to throw. My heart was hurt by someone who said something most likely out of their own hurt or just not thinking. I wish I could feel justified in saying that I have NEVER said something I later regretted. I wish....but I can't. I'm just thankful for second chances. And third, and fourth, and fifth...