Jennifer Slattery Christian Blog and Commentary

Learning Through the Hard and Painful

I felt vulnerable, slandered, and attacked, and I wanted to retreat. To hide in my room and self-protect. And for a while, I did, until God’s gentle Spirit nudged me out of hiding.

More than that, He called me to healing. To a new level of freedom, and that painful and chaotic situation was His preferred avenue.

In that, He offered me a choice: I could focus on my pain, retreat, and nurse a bitter heart, or I could surrender to Him and everything He longed to accomplish through it.

By His grace, I chose the latter, and during my prayer time, he reminded me of His sovereignty, and the unyielding truth that the sins of others can’t disrupt His plans for my life.

Unless I let them. But if I yield to God amidst the gunk, I’ll come out stronger for it. Romans 12:17 says, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.”

Honorable. A person with integrity. Someone who isn’t reactive but rather behaves with intentional obedience and deliberate grace. That’s hard when we’ve been hurt. Our first reaction is often to self-protect or retaliate, but in our relationships to one another, we should have the same mindset as Jesus.

So how did Jesus respond when attacked? He remained composed and silent. (Isaiah 53:7.)

We’d be wise to do the same—to get out of the way and let God handle things. He tends to do a better job than we, in our wounded state, ever could. And we need to remember, as much as the event or encounter hurt, God allowed it, and if He allowed it, He had a good reason. A hope-filled reason.

Trusting this to be true, and knowing God always and only allowed what’s for my best, I began to pray. I asked Him to show me what He wanted to teach me through my pain. And He responded, revealing a major, obedience-hindering flaw. Though I claimed to find my identity in Christ, I was living as if the opinion of others defined my worth.

I’d become a people pleaser, and this was getting in God’s way and weighing me down.

But God wanted to lift me up, and He used the wounds of a friend to orchestrate my first steps of freedom—because I surrendered my hurt to Him and trusted Him to bring good from it.

I imagine you can relate. Everyone faces betrayal and wounds from so-called friends. How we react to these offenses says a lot about our character and our faith. Do we respond in kind, or do we trust God to bring good out of the situation? To use our pain to grow, and in fact heal us, to bring and bring us to a new level of freedom?

Let’s talk about this! How do you tend to respond when someone hurts you? How might remembering God is sovereign, loving, and intimately involved in your life help you maintain honor and integrity the next time you’re hurt? Do you have a story you can share of how God brought good out of a painful situation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

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