Sweet friends,

I think we all have had our fair share of hurting, pain-ridden hearts. We all have experienced situations that just don’t seem very fair at all. We have all faced circumstances where we ask ourselves, “Why are people just so mean?” or “What did I do to hurt them enough to do this to me?” 

I can tell you from my own experience, loving people who hurt you is one of the hardest callings that God places on our lives. I find those words coming from my mouth often, especially this year as a teacher. Though it is not my job to sit here and talk about others’ shortcomings, I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that I lived in the fire this year, but I lived in the shadow of the Almighty, and for that I am eternally grateful. I am thankful to have a Shepherd that restores my soul by allowing me to take the time to breathe and rest. My heart is so raw from this school year and the words that the Lord has placed on my heart are coming from a place of rawness and unfiltered gratitude to my sweet Jesus for bringing me through the fire this year. 

As a teacher, my heart often hurts. It hurts when others are hateful towards my style of teaching, hateful of misinterpreted situations, and hateful when they fully believe 100% of what a six-year-old tells them each day after school—true or untrue.

The Struggle to forgive
Quote about Forgiveness

Lay Down Your Sword

In this post, perhaps you hope that I will give you extravagant tips and tricks on how to love people when they hurt you. But really, I want you to know that I am sitting in this struggle with you today, embracing empathy when it is needed, and praying that God redeems the relationships that you are struggling in. Maybe it is a co-worker, a spouse, a parent of a student, someone at church, and the list could go on and on. 

What if I challenged you today to take a moment to breathe? To lay down your sword, even when the desire to fight is almost unbearable? I am sitting in that challenge today—to lay down my sword and my desire to fight against those who have hurt me, accept an apology that was never given, and move on because having true joy in the Lord means putting aside that pain and trusting in His promise to lead us beside still waters. After all, He is the God of redemption! He can bring forth beauty in even the darkest of places and even in the darkest of hearts. I am praying that we can rest in that beautiful truth today. God is more than our fleshly, hurting human hearts.

The age old question that I am sure every single believer has asked themselves, “How can I love them when they hurt me so badly?” The Lord tells us so clearly in His Word that we must love our neighbour as ourselves, no matter how difficult it is. It is not a suggestion, but rather a command from the Almighty. Isn’t that so hard to hear? I know it is for me! We are so tempted to gather our closest, gossipy friends, debrief in a way that is so, so hurtful, and shut out the one who is hurting us. What makes us any different than them if we do that? This is so hard for me, too, sister.

What if I dared you today to go to your closest, Jesus-loving friends, and pray and speak life over the same person? It is more productive to pray to the One who can change our hearts than to gossip with those who don’t have the capacity to heal like our Jesus. 

In The Thick Of The Struggle

I find myself struggling to write this because, right now, I am struggling to forgive someone in my life who has hurt me so much this year. The hard truth is this: it’s time to move on. It is time to run with Jesus and not look back to the pain they caused me because I know I was created for more than that. We can’t shut ourselves out; we need relationships. Solid, Jesus-loving relationships that help us grow into the woman God created us to be. We can’t hide away. God literally made us to be in relationship with Him and others. He had a purpose in His design of humanity.

We are meant to be investing in thriving, peace-centered relationships. If I can encourage you at all today, I want to encourage you to find those Jesus-loving friends who are willing to walk through the fire with you by lifting you up with words of life and burying you in prayer. It is such a beautiful thing to find those who will love you through the mess, isn’t it? Friends who won’t walk away from you when times get hard because they know that Jesus is above all things, even in our chaos.

I want you to know that I am in the thick of the struggle right now, too, which is why these thoughts are so fresh and raw in my heart. How am I supposed to turn the other cheek? How could Jesus even say to do that with everything that He went through here on earth? When the Lord said to love our neighbor as ourselves, He wasn’t messing around. I believe we all need a reminder of what that truly, deeply means. 

I think it starts with resisting the urge to impulsively react to the pain. Instead, we can lean on each other in each season of life—good or bad—and walk out of the fire together. We can seek wisdom from the Lord and others, ask questions to better understand, and most importantly, pray to see others the way God sees them. This, my friends, is empathy. 

Empathy is a difficult calling in our lives. Empathy is moving forward in grace, having the eyes to see the battles others are facing, and entering into their pain and loving them through it. It doesn’t require even ground, only an attitude of growth and love. Though it is way more work to empathize with those who are very different from us, I can confidently tell you that it is worth the extra mile.

Blog Post about forgiving when you've been hurt
A quote about forgiveness

We may have to put on God’s glasses to see from another point of view, open our homes to them, or even take care of them when they are sick. Dare I say that this can actually be a blessing when God is at the center of it? 

So my question is this, one I have been asking myself daily, “How do I live and love in the mess?” How do I love others as I love my God or those whom I care about? To love those who hurt us, we must remove our shoes, sit at the foot of the cross, unload all the pain they have caused you, and dare I say, stand up and walk away.

I am praying for you, sweet sister, that God uses these struggling relationships to show you the power of His redemption.

Keep shining your light for Jesus. You have an eternal reward waiting for you. There is purpose in looking toward the eternal hope that is awaiting us.

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