I wish I were tougher, but I’m easily hurt. I guess that’s because I’m so shocked when anyone points out how imperfect I am, since I consider myself the best me I can be. I mean, I’m doing all the right things, as far as I know. I’m not trying to be bad, stupid or late. I should be getting A’s for effort, not criticism, distrust and rejection for failure. I wish others could see me the way I see me, as always innocent, but they have a different view of me from where they sit. I guess we all have different views of one another, and that’s why we so easily hurt one another, but God’s Word has a way out of the offenses we so often experience. He has a way through the pain and onto toughness and freedom, I just oftentimes forget the way, and I’m guessing sometimes you do to. So join me as I consider 8 ways to toughen up and to become less easily offended:
1. I will learn to love truth more than being hurt – The truth hurts when it’s directed at me. Of course I love wielding it on others’ mistakes, but keep it away from mine. So yeah, the truth hurts, but then who wants to be told a lie and believe it? What a dilemma! Pain or pretend? Which will I choose? What is it they say, “No pain, no gain?” Ugh, I guess the painful truth is more valuable than a comfortable lie. Sometimes I just want to stay blissfully ignorant of my problems rather than toughen up and handle the hard realities of my life, but when I choose pretend over the pain of the truth I just keep being hurt by the people who love me. Jesus said the truth is what sets you free (see John 8:32). I just wish that the process of freedom didn’t hurt so badly. But if Jesus is way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) then the truth has got to be my way of life.
2. I will consider others more important – Hate this. It’s downright dangerous to consider others more important, especially when they correct me, accuse me or in anyway make me feel bad. The fight for survival is real, but it’s also what makes me so sensitive to the potential death blows to my sinful nature. How many times could I get past on offense if I thought of the offending person as more important than myself, as having more insight, more wisdom, more knowledge? How many times could I get over things quicker if I allowed humility to do it’s spiritual part in my life and put down my need to be right, to be first, to be better? Considering others more important than myself doesn’t only offer them the gift of peace, it gives me the gift of being less easily offended and more easily pleased.“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3) just may be an unexpected friend in the battle against hurt feelings.
4. I will put myself in their place – I like my place, it’s the best place, because it’s mine, and I made it. Their place is unfamiliar and strange, but I don’t have to move in, I can just have a visit and put myself in their place in this one instance. Why are they saying what they are saying? Have I ever said something like it? Would I, if I were them? If I love them then maybe I should attempt to walk a mile in their uncomfortable shoes just to understand them. How can I love well if I throw up a hand and reject their feelings without trying to know what it must be like to feel the way they feel.
5. I will love them – I think that if I didn’t love myself so much I wouldn’t be so hurt. At the root of my pain is this selfish desire to be loved and accepted. But what if I flipped that upside down and instead of demanding love I gave love away freely? How could a person hurt my feelings if all I cared about what loving them? Self-protection makes me an easy target, and it gets in the way of love. God’s Word tells us that love always assumes the best out of people, not the insult, not the attack, not the rejection. 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” If I bear all things in the name of love then how can I be so easily offended? But if I fearfully reject all things in the name of selfishness, that’s when the offense happens. Love covers a myriad of offenses, I’m going to allow it to cover the pain of offense.
6. I will patiently endure evil – I don’t have the patience for evil, I want to kick its butt. But God insists that evil is coming and this is what He says to do about it, He says, “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” (2 Timothy 2:24) Enduring evil? That doesn’t sound like the kicking and biting that I prefer. But maybe it’s the kicking and biting instinct is that is making me so easily hurt in the first place. What if the offenses that were meant to harm me were actually intended for my good by my God? Could I say, like Joseph, to the hurt inside of me, “What they intended for evil, God intended for good” (See Genesis 50:20), if I want to be less hurt then I must. And I have to get it through my thick skull that I might never know why God allows a thing in my life, but I can know that He works it together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. (See Romans 8:28)
7. I will share the grace – Justice makes sense, thats why I love it so much, but then grace comes along and messes everything up. Grace says, don’t treat them the way their sins deserve: Don’t punish them, or get them back. Grace goes easy, justice goes hard, and that’s why its so hard for me to handle the harsh words, correction and missteps of others, justice must be served. But if I were on the side of grace, then maybe their mistakes wouldn’t burn so deep in my soul, maybe I could let it go in favor of forgiveness and kindness. The next time they mess up I’m going to trust that God’s ways are the best ways and offer the grace of understanding, believing and trusting.
8. I will take up the mission of God – The mission of me is a delicate one. When I’m on my mission I’m easily hurt, distracted and angry. The mission of me promises safety, success and survival, but all it ever gives me is heartache and pain. But the mission of God is never thwarted, He never fails or gets shot down. His mission is the one mission that I can not only embrace, but also be embraced by, and in that embrace I am protected from the slings and arrows that previously paralyzed me because in His mission I am not the star and don’t need applause or gifts, only the desire to bring Him the glory. When all eyes are on Him, including my own, how much easier it is to suffer the slights and attacks of those whom I was sent to love and serve. The mission of me is self-protection and self-improvement. The mission of God is faith, hope and love.
I want to be tougher, I’m sick of being hurt by the words and actions of others, and being derailed from the mission of God by the mission of me. Today I’m going to make a change, will you join me, and go from easily hurt to easily enduring for the sake of the gospel?