How do you respond when someone hurts your feelings? Do you let it rob you of joy? Or maybe your emotions run wild?
Luke 6:27-28 (GNT) tells us what we should do when people hurt us:
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
And Luke 6:35 (NIV) takes this principle even further. It says:
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
I know it’s not easy and can seem impossible to do. But whatever God tells us to do, it’s for our good. So the best thing we can do is make a determined decision to be obedient and trust that God will change our heart in the process.
One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 12:21, which says that we overcome evil with good. I can tell you from personal experience that this is absolutely true and learning this principle has been life-changing for me.
What I Did When Someone Hurt Me
Let me give you a practical example. A few years ago, a friend of mine was at a restaurant and overheard a conversation about me in the neighboring booth, and they weren’t saying good things. One of the people involved was doing business with our ministry and making a good deal of money because of their relationship with us, so this was upsetting to me.
At first, I got mad and just wanted to tell him that he was never getting our business again.
But later that night when I was trying to go to sleep, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, "You're not going to do that. You're going to do what you teach – you’re going to overcome evil with good. Buy him a present and tell him how much you appreciate the services he's given you all these years."
Needless to say, I resisted at first, but ended up sending him a gift.
The Best Thing to Do When Someone Hurts You
Here’s what’s amazing to me: as soon as I started taking action to do something good for this man, it just got so funny to me and I was actually happy about blessing him.
Listen, when we can have compassion for people who've hurt us and pray what Jesus prayed "…Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," the joy of the Lord rises in our heart and totally overcomes the anger and frustration that was making us miserable.
You know, I think most of the time people don't even realize what they are doing. That man in the restaurant who was talking about me had no idea what he was doing and the position he was putting himself in.
The Rewards of Forgiveness
That's why we need to pray for those who hurt us and say, "God forgive them." In fact, what does God say will happen to us when we obey His Word?
Luke 6:35 states, …And your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most Hight, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil…. God tells us that we'll receive a reward when we do things His way. Isaiah 61:7 says He will give us double for our trouble!
When we really decide to forgive and pray for God to bless our enemies, making the decision that we will not talk bad about them, but instead, love them like Jesus loves them, we might not feel any different right away. But God is faithful and He will change your heart as you keep doing what’s right.
I realize that choosing forgiveness is one of the most difficult things God asks us to do, especially if we believe that whoever hurt us is in the wrong and doesn't deserve to be forgiven. But staying mad won’t help you either; the truth is it actually causes you more hurt and misery if you refuse to get past the offense.
God instructs us to practice forgiveness because it’s the right way to live. And when we choose to forgive and bless those who hurt us, we will experience the peace and joy that come through obeying God's Word.