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by Dr. R.L. Shaw

     People often ask the question, "What do you do when you are hurt by a church member? Why did they hurt me? Will I ever stop being hurt?

     Hurt. What is hurt?

     We get hurt in the world and get over it. We get hurt in the church and expect it not to happen. Why? Who comes to church. Who sings in the choir? Who ushers on the usher board. People who have come from the world. Why do we think that people who go to church are perfect? They are striving for perfection. Therefore, hurt is a part of life, not just the Christian life. Remember what Paul went through (2 Corinthians 4:8-12; 6:4-6). Jesus is our greatest example of hurt in the church (Isaiah 53:3-5).

     Is there supposed to be no hurt? What about the Pastor? Does he ever get hurt? What about the dedicated Pastor who preaches Sunday after Sunday and continues to see people doing the opposite of what he's preaching. Does that hurt? It hurts when any parent wants the best for his child and doesn't see it manifest. Does that mean he or she should stop preaching? No, it means he must function past the hurt. Hurt is a part of life, but we must learn how to take advantage of the hurt. There is some lesson to be learned in every hurt we encounter. There are some lessons we would never even acknowledge without going through certain things that demand us to acknowledge them. We learn what we want and we learn what we don't want in the midst of hurt. We learn what is right and we learn what is wrong in the midst of our hurt. Sometimes we are blind and deaf until hurt knocks on our door and all of a sudden we wake up. Hurt is an alarm clock that in many cases brings us back to reality. We must learn how to benefit from the hurt. We, most of all, must function past the hurt. The last time you were hurt, did you feel like you would never get over it? But guess what? You did. The last time you were hurt, did you feel like the hurt would never end? But guess what? It did.

     We must teach people how to get over hurts because hurts are a part of life, whether it's with a friend, relative or in a relationship. The hurts that we go through try to prevent us from being able to function effectively. Hurt is one of the number one killers of effectiveness, because it controls the correct functioning of the emotions, which perverts ones thinking process. We think about all the wrong things when we are hurt, because we allow the hurt to wreck our emotions. Hurts cause us to say things that we shouldn't say. Hurts cause us to do things that we shouldn't do. Hurts cause to react in ways that we regret later. All of this is because our emotions have been affected and infected. We must learn how to not let the hurt penetrate and permeate our souls. Anything that controls your emotions, at that time, controls your thought process. The worst decisions were made during times or hurt - decisions that we sometimes spend the rest of our lives trying to correct. Yes, hurt is real and it's real in the church.

     Sometimes God even allows the hurts to come in our lives to see where our commitment lies. For instance, if God calls you to a church, and because you get hurt you leave. Did God change his mind about the call? No. Every hurt that transpires in the church, is not intentional. Mainly because everybody, and I do mean everybody, is growing and developing into what is ordained for them to become (predestined and preordained). Our focus must not be on the hurt, but what the hurt does for you. We love to quote Galations 5:22-23 an talk about the fruit of the spirit. But in actuality the fruit of the spirit is not manifest in ones life without a negative experience first. Look at hurt as something that if you respond to it incorrectly it will become a barrier on the road that you are traveling on. All of us are traveling on a road that is leading to our destiny. But there are things that happen that try to get us out of our lane. Only what is destined for you can be achieved by remaining on your road. This is why our focus must not be on the hurt, but what the hurt does for you. What we fail to realize is that so many things we never really appreciate until we experience the opposite reaction. We appreciate people that are time conscious after meeting people who are late all the time. We appreciate being up after we experience being down.

     Everyone gets over hurt if they continue to move on. What hinders is when you stop in the hurt and meditate on it. This is why the Word tells us what to meditate on. (Phil. 4:8)   So I guess if we compare ourselves to Christ, we have nothing to complain about. We should almost say, "Bring it on." Because it's coming any way.  

     It is impossible to keep moving forward if you meditate on your hurt. Whatever you meditate is the determining factor for what you will do or say next. Hurt usually amplifies itself in our thought process because of our own meditation. We make the mole hills become mountains, even when they are not. Hurt is a process to go through; an experience to get over. It's not a stopping point. It's not a period, but a comma.

     The next time you are hurt, first stop and ask yourself, "What could the person who hurt you possibly be going through that caused them to do whatever they did? People, in many cases, hurt others because they are hurt. If you are hurt in a relationship, you must realize what they are missing out on that is causing them to act the way they are acting. The next time you are hurt, ask yourself, "What problem do they have?" Ask yourself "Is this situation or person important enough to destroy me emotionally?" When anything can stop you and cause you to alter your personality, that thing has become too important. The next time you get hurt, say to yourself not why did it happen, but "I'm getting over this."

Dr. R.L. Shaw of Houston, Texas has been in full time ministry for 24 years. Dr. Shaw received a doctorate in Theology from Andersonville Seminary.

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