Summary: All our lives we have heard that two things are certain - death and taxes. But another thing needs to be added to that list of sure things - hurts. It is inevitable that as we go through life people will hurt us.
WHEN OTHERS HURT YOU
All our lives we have heard that two things are certain - death and taxes. But another thing needs to be added to that list of sure things - hurts. It is inevitable that as we go through life people will hurt us.
Sometimes they hurt us by accident...sometimes it is intentional. Sometimes they hurt us by what they do...sometimes it’s by what they say. Sometimes the wounds are superficial and heal quickly...at other times they are deep and the scars remain a lifetime. But mark it down somewhere...People Do Hurt Us!
So what do we do when others hurt us? How should we react? This is something we need to know. And the apostle Paul gives us a hint in 2 Timothy 4:14-15...where he talks about a coppersmith named Alexander. (READ)
These verses are part of the biographical writings of Paul...which are really like a page out of his spiritual diary. He is telling Timothy some of his experiences as a missionary and as he does - he mentions a man named Alexander who had hurt him deeply.
Just what did this man do to Paul? Well, we have no idea...and Paul doesn’t give us any specifics...other than the probability that something was said that caused a deep emotional hurt. But it’s obvious that whatever Alexander did to Paul...it was no small, incidental thing. It was something that was deeply hurtful and perhaps done repeatedly.
Yet in spite of this Paul doesn’t dwell on it or make a big stink about it. Now, if you or I had been the one hurt and telling the story, we would have gone into the greatest of detail. We would want everyone to know each minute little morsel of what was done...and how deeply we were hurt by it. But not Paul.
Paul was deeply hurt...but he never felt sorry for himself...he never attempted to gain sympathy for himself...he harbored no anger or bitterness over what happened to him. Somehow, Paul had developed the ability to "remember the best and forget the rest in life."
He simply related the incident to warn Timothy to watch out for Alexander. And by doing this he gives us a biblical example of how to respond to the hurts of life. And I hope we can learn from the life of Paul some truth that will help us at some point in our lives.
You see, what happened to Paul can happen to us. People can and often do hurt us... deeply and repeatedly. They exclude us from their group...fire us from our job...block us from a promotion...they criticize us unjustly...they say things that are harsh and cruel.
The person who wrote, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me" obviously never had said about him what I’ve had said about me...or probably what you’ve had said to you - or about you. Because words spoken harshly and critically can wound deeply.
And when things like that happen we need to know what to do...we need to know how to respond. What do we do when people hurt us? I believe that this experience from the life of Paul will help us to know what to do and how to respond.
There are three things I want to look at this morning from the example of Paul. First, when others hurt us, we should not be surprised. Hurts are a normal part of life. We should expect them. Second, we should not allow hurts to fester into bitterness and resentment. We must learn to remember the best and forget the rest. Finally, we shouldn’t try to get even with the one who has hurt us. We should leave vengeance to God.
So...What do we do when people hurt us? First, don’t be surprised. Paul mentions this experience with Alexander in such a "matter of fact" way that we know it was a normal part of life. And he accepted hurts as part of the price of living and serving God.
Now, many people are hypersensitive to jealousy and criticism. They are extremely touchy when some kind of adverse judgment or comments are leveled at them. The least bit of adversity sets them off. But the normal person comes closer to taking criticism for granted and regards appreciation as gold. Most understand that hurts are a part of life and when we have a well integrated personality we’ll accept them without surprise.
Some years ago President Bush Sr. was hospitalized with what first was feared to be a heart attack. Immediately the critics began a verbal attack on V.P. Quayle. And despite the fact that the President said Quayle was doing a first class job, opponents severely questioned his ability to lead the nation if the President should be incapacitated. Even Quayle’s children had to defend their father against critics.