8th July 2023

Lesli White asks


Does God Want You to Spend Time
With People Who Always Hurt You?

How God really wants us to respond to people who hurt us?

These may be family members, friends, co-workers,
even a friend from church.
So many friendships have been shattered because of cruel words
and actions that have left those who have been hurt feeling betrayed.

What happens when the person who hurt us is a close
family member or friend?
Should we spend time with them?

We can turn to the Bible for answers to this question.
Luke 6:27-36 speaks to this issue in great detail.
In some areas of Christian life we struggle to find out how God
wants us to respond, but that's not the case here.
God's instructions are detailed.

Jesus said,

"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"

.....Luke 6:27-28

In the following verses, Jesus gives several specific examples
of how to treat those who have hurt you, and He concludes with,

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful"

.....Luke 6:36

The ultimate standard is set here.

The closer we become with the Scripture, the more God will speak to us
about the relationships we're in.
He may be calling you to re-align some relationships.
You may be around people who negatively influence your life.

Painful words and violent tempers can create traps in your life that
God may not be calling you to be part of.
When you seek God more when it comes to your relationships,
you may also begin giving less of yourself to people addicted to
gossip and slander because being in that space is not only not uplifting,
but also doesn't reflect Jesus.

In these circumstances where you begin to limit the influence of the person
that's hurting you, it doesn't mean that you will no longer love,
forgive or pray for that person.

It just means that you no longer allow them to take up so much space
in your life.

When we know that we are not our own, we also recognise that things will
show up in our lives that are completely outside of our control.

God calls us to forgive.
As believers, we can choose whether we will hold grudges or practice grace,
but if we are truly following Him, the choice has already been made.

This can be tough, so God provides some balance with verses like
2 Corinthians 12:10 which says,

"Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults,
with distressed, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ's sake;
for when I am weak, then I am strong."

One of the best things we can do for those who hurt us
is pray for them.
Many times we are not in a place to force the other person to stop
their hurtful behaviour. We also rarely have the power to change them,
but we do have the power to change our response to the person.

God simply tells us to pray for them.
If you're wondering what you should pray about, the answer is simple.
Pray that God will help you to love this person.
Pray that God will help you to see the good things He wants you to do
for this person. Pray that God will bless this person.

What's so great about these prayers is that they focus your attention on God.

Instead of being consumed with the hurt, you focus on God,
the One who can heal the hurt, and give you the power to respond
in a radically new way.

When King David was fleeing for his life because his son Absalom was
leading a rebellion, a man named Shimei came out and cursed David
and threw stones at him.

When one of David's generals asked permission to take off his head,
David responded, leave Shimei alone, perhaps God has told him to curse me
(2 Samuel 16:5-4).
This is a powerful response in such a difficult time.
David protects himself from sinning by trusting God and assuming that
God's plan is beyond his understanding.

We can use David as an example in our own lives.
God wants us to trust Him regarding our relationships with others.

Ask yourself if the relationships you're in really reflect God.
Our best relationships are the ones that have Jesus at the centre of them.

It's very possible that if a person is always hurting you,
Jesus is not at the centre of your relationship with them and that's
not healthy for your physical, emotional, mental or spiritual well-being.

If God is not present in the relationship you're in,
it may be time to re-evaluate the relationship or at least
change the way you interact with each other.

Bible references avaiable, on request

Lesli White is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth with a
Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications and a concentration in print
and online journalism.
In college, she took a number of religious studies courses and harnessed
her talent for storytelling.
White has a rich faith background.
Her father, a Lutheran pastor and life coach was a big influence in her
faith life, helping her to see the value of sharing the message of Christ
with others.
She has served in the church from an early age.
Some of these roles include assisting ministry, mutual ministry,
worship and music ministry and church council.