I can allow their hurtful words to play over and over in my mind. Or I am really good at taking someone’s neutral words/expressions/jokes etc and twisting them so I see something that was not even there. I am really working on not assuming people’s hearts or motives.
Recently someone had said something to someone else about me and it got back to me and it stung. It felt like it attacked my very core. These words were not true but just their impression of me but it still caused the tears to flow and my heart to ache.
But it caused me to have an ah ha moment : Someone’s lies about you or hurtful words said to you can cause you to second guess your true self. It was their hurtful words that made me wonder if what they said was true about me.
As the tears were flowing as I sat on my front porch (it is so good for me to step outside in nature and just pray to God when I am hurt) I had to remind myself of my true identity in Christ.
I am a daughter of the King Jesus.
I am precious.
I am loved.
Then I had to think would those closest to me say those hurtful words about me? Would those who see all my ugly and every dimension of me say those hurtful words about me? In that moment, I realized that my husband, family and close friends would never say those exact words to me or about me. So I was then able to release those words and not allow them to stick. This makes me think of my most favorite children’s picture book, You are Special (everyone should read this whether parent or not- profound).
It is a story of these wooden toys who put stickers on each other daily. Gray dot stickers are given for things against you like cracked wood, poor reader etc. Star stickers are given if you can jump high, polished wood etc. The wood carver (creator/the Christ figure) tells the main character that these stickers only stick if you allow them. He then says, “Come to me each day so I can tell you what I think of you. You are special because you are mine.”
It helps me to remember when someone lashes out with hurtful words -it is because they are hurting themselves. Often they are emotionally unhealthy. Sometimes they were not equipped with the tools to deal with their emotions in a healthy way (via parent’s teaching etc). Or they may have not pursued growth in this area on their own or via a counselor. When they are hurt, they lash out. This understanding does not excuse their wrong but it does help me in compassion for them. It helps to pray for them as well. I pray that they would know the healing power of Jesus. I pray that they would find hope in him. I pray for growth in emotional health to see the places that Jesus wants to bring wholeness in my own life and theirs.