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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Singleness

Feb 11, 2017

Part II

As we left our story, Fran attended a singles dinner at her church, and sat at a table with a single man named David, new to the city and to the church, who invited her out for a cup of coffee afterwards. She found David attractive and is hoping to hear from him again. In fact, he asked for her number and said he’d call.

It’s the next day, and Fran has had a hard time concentrating at work today, as she thinks about David and anticipates his call. She’s thought of nothing else all day and Jesus has had a hard time getting her attention throughout the day.

That evening as she’s doing a load of laundry, her phone rings, and Fran’s heart stops. Maybe it’s David! She rushes to pick up her phone, and then let’s it rings one more time. Then she tries to casually answer, only to discover it’s not David, it’s Patsy. They chat a few minutes, and she hangs up. Her mother calls and wants to chat, but Fran pretends to be busy in order to get her off the phone and free it up. Finally at 11:00 she drags herself to bed, feeling disappointed. She really thought David would call tonight.

Finally she talks to the Lord about it: “Lord, it felt so good to have that male attention,” Fran says, brushing away a couple of tears. 

“I know,” Jesus responds. “I understand your need for male attention; but you can trust me to meet your needs in other ways, if necessary, and even if there isn’t another man in your future, I am capable of fulfilling you and making your life very meaningful. Can you trust me?”

“Yes,” Fran says, with the tears trickling down her face, “I can trust you, but I can’t imagine living the rest of my life without a husband. I’m lonely; it’s not fun being a single in a married world.”

“Well, you don’t have to live the rest of your life, Fran,” Jesus says very kindly, “just today. I’ve gotten you through the last few years; I can get you through today.”

As the week progresses, Fran finds herself still thinking about David, but with more perspective. But she is still hoping he will call, and every time the phone rings, her heart skips a couple of beats. But Thursday and Friday evening come and go without a call from David.

As she’s busy cleaning house on Saturday the phone rings, and Fran picks it up absentmindedly. “Hi, Fran, this is David. Remember me?” she hears from the other end. She truly did not expect it to be David, and it catches her by surprise.

“Oh, David, hi,” she finally manages to say. “Sure I remember you, of course. I just wasn’t expecting… Yes, I enjoyed our conversation, David. What? Tonight? Well, it would be nice to have dinner with you, but you see, I have two kids and to find a baby-sitter this late—well, I don’t see how I could.”

After a pause, Fran says, “Well, sure, I guess I could try. Yeah, okay, call me back in an hour or so. I’ll let you know.”

As she hangs up the phone, her heart is beating a mile a minute. Dinner tonight! She calls a couple of her teenage sitters, but they’re busy.

Finally she gets up the nerve to ask her mother if she can bring the kids over to her house and let them sleep over. Her mother is glad to have her grandchildren for the evening, but skeptical about Fran’s last minute invitation. Fran ignores her concern, and agrees to bring the kids over at 6:00.

David calls in a few minutes, Fran confirms she can have dinner with him, and then she looks at the clock. Almost noon. Wow, she’s going to have to get busy to get everything done and be ready for dinner. As she sits down to give her nails a quick going over, for the first time since David’s call she remembers that Jesus is there. “Well, Jesus, I guess you’re not happy with my date with David, either,” she says, trying to make light of it.

“I’ve been watching you all morning Fran. You’re really excited about this date, aren’t you,” Jesus says, ignoring her other remark.

“Surely there’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Don’t I have a right to some fun?” Fran replies, defensively.

“A right?” Jesus asks. “You’re still super concerned about your rights, Fran.”

“Well, I just used the wrong word. I mean, don’t I have—uh, don’t I deserve—I mean, what’s wrong with a date? You made men and women for each other, and David and I are attracted to each other. It’s just that simple,” Fran responds.

“Oh, Fran, I understand your feelings,” Jesus responds slowly. “But what I’m not happy with is your over-reaction to this invitation—to this man. You’ve shown very little caution or discernment, and you really don’t know him.”

The air is rather heavy between them, and Fran just leaves it at that point. Pretty soon it’s time to get her shower, fix her hair and find the right thing to wear. Then she hastily gets the kids ready, puts them in the car, and heads out to her mother’s house.

Back at her house, she checks her hair one more time, and sits down to wait for David. David is thirty minutes late, but finally the doorbell rings. David makes no mention of being late, and they head out to the restaurant. The conversation goes along smoothly, picking up where they left off Tuesday evening. Fran tells David more about her family, her job. Then David starts talking about his marriage.

“My ex-wife tried to take me for everything I’m worth when we divorced. I’ve taken her to court twice to get the payments reduced, but it doesn’t work. She tells lies and they always believe what the woman says,” David says, with bitterness in his voice.

Fran is very uncomfortable with the conversation, and feels an uneasiness in her spirit about his attitude toward his ex-wife. Trying to change the subject, she says, “How about your sons? Do you get to see them often?”

“Well, before I moved here I saw them once or twice a month. Now, it’ll be a little harder,” David says, “but they’re busy teenagers. They don’t have a lot of time for anything but soccer and girls!”

Again, a bell goes off in Fran’s head. Only saw his sons once or twice a month? Wow, doesn’t say a lot for his role as a father.

“Fran,” Jesus says quietly, “I hope you’re listening.”

Fran squirms in her seat. Being reminded that Jesus is there makes her a bit uncomfortable, but there’s no denying that David is not making the best impression. However, she changes the subject, and the evening continues nicely.

In this nice setting, with the music and the good food, Fran thinks, “He really is a nice looking man.” He smiles at her warmly, and reaches for her hand.

“I’m so glad I met you, Fran,” David says, as the waiter is pouring their coffee. “You don’t know how lonely it’s been to move to a city where you don’t know anybody. I’m glad you could be with me tonight.”

The touch of his hand feels good. It’s been a long time and Fran enjoys the feeling. “Well, I’m glad we met, too, David. Since Jim’s death I’ve been terribly lonely, but I’ve also learned that Jesus can fill up some of the lonely places. He’s become more of a friend to me than ever before.”

“Yeah, right,” David responds. It’s the first reference to anything spiritual all evening and David doesn’t seem too comfortable. After paying the bill, they head out to his car. As he opens the door for her, before she realizes it, his arm goes around her and he is kissing her firmly. She tries to pull away without being obvious, but it catches her by surprise.

“Sorry if I surprised you, Fran,” David says, with his arm still around her, “but you’re a beautiful woman and I’ve wanted to do that all evening.”

“Well,” Fran stammers, “yeah, well—we better get on home, David.” All the way home, while keeping up some small talk, Fran feels that kiss. The chemistry starts fast, and from David’s rather nervous chatter, she gets the feeling that he’s thinking about it, too.

As they get to her door, she starts to say goodnight. It’s an awkward moment. She doesn’t intend for him to kiss her again, but in a way she hopes he’ll try. Fishing for her keys, she says, “Well, I hope to see you in church tomorrow. And thanks again, David. It was a really lovely evening.”

“Your kids aren’t here, are they?” David asks, as he holds the screen door.

“No, they’re at my mom’s for the night,” Fran replies.

“Well, then no reason I have to rush off, is there? Can we drum up another cup of coffee?” he asks with a disarming smile.

Fran feels obligated, but she knows it’s not smart to be alone with him. “Well, it’s kinda late; maybe another time,” she says.

“Oh, come on Fran, we’re both adults,” David says, moving closer to her. “And the house is empty. You have needs, so do I; why don’t we enjoy the evening.”

Seven hundred alarms now go off in Fran’s head. “David,” she says, “I don’t know what you have in mind, but the answer is no.”

He actually starts to push the door open as Fran unlocks it, and go in. “David,” she repeats, “I said goodnight.”

“Fran, I didn’t take you out just to have someone to eat with,” he looks her in the eyes, and the charm has vanished. “Now, come on. You got rid of the kids tonight so we could be alone—admit it.”

“David,” Fran says with alarm, “what are you saying? I certainly had no intention of anything more than dinner.”

“Fran, let’s just have some fun,” David says. “You’re single; I’m single; what difference does it make.”

“David, I thought you were a Christian,” Fran says with shock.

“I am, but that doesn’t mean I’m a monk! I am a man, after all,” he replies.

At this point, he starts to push the door open again, and Fran remembers to call for help. “Lord, help, please help!”

“Pull the door shut again, Fran. It will then automatically lock. And stay on the porch until he drives off,” Jesus whispers in her ear.

Quickly, before David realizes what she’s doing, Fran pulls the door shut. “David, I will stand here on this porch until you drive off. Goodnight,” she says, and the finality in her voice finally gets the message across.

“Fran, I’m sorry I wasted your time. I thought you were a woman who knows the score. Obviously I was wrong,” he says over his shoulder.

Fran leans against the door as her knees start to buckle. “Oh, Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you. If you hadn’t given me that idea, who knows what would have happened.”

Fran goes into the house and sinks down on the sofa. The tears start rushing down her cheeks as she realizes what happened. “Oh no, oh no, how could I have been so stupid. Oh, Lord, I think he would have raped me if I hadn’t gotten that door closed. Did you see the look in his eye?”

“I saw his heart, Fran; that’s why I wanted you to get to know him better before you were alone with him,” Jesus says to her gently.

“I’m sorry, Lord, I didn’t listen to you or mom or anybody,” Fran says sobbing. “I just wanted to be with a man so badly that I lost all reasoning and all my sensibilities. Oh, I’m sorry.”

“Now, Fran, don’t cry anymore. You’re safe. I know you never intended for the evening to go like this. You’ve learned some good lessons you won’t forget,” Jesus says.

As she crawls in bed, she surveys her room and thinks about her kids. “Oh, I love those kids. And I hardly gave them any time today,” she remembers, and the tears start to trickle again.

“Now, Fran,” Jesus says quietly, “don’t start wallowing in guilt. You made some basic mistakes; but no harm has been done. So, learn from it, grow from it, and let it go.”

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Fran and Jesus on the Job – Singleness

Feb 4, 2017

Part I 

For quite a few years I’ve been telling an on-going fictional story I call Fran and Jesus on the Job. Fran is a young widow whose husband was killed in an accident, and now she finds herself a working mom with two children. Fran is learning how to turn to Jesus for wisdom and guidance in every area of her life. She is learning to practice the presence of Jesus all the time—remember and be aware that as a Christ-follower, she has God’s Spirit resident within her. When you’re born from above, you can have conversations with Jesus just like Fran, because he is with you always. Obviously he doesn’t speak to you in verbal words, but as you get to know him better and better, his Spirit within you can certainly speak to your heart.

Since Jim’s untimely death, Fran finds that her life is consumed with just keeping her family going. For the first year after his death, she had to learn to do so many things she’d never done before, and all that in the midst of terrible grief. Now, as a working mom, her time and energy are needed to do her job and be the mother she wants to be. She’s learning how much sacrifice it takes to try to wear both of those hats.

But as several years have now passed since she became a widow, Fran is beginning to feel the desire and the need for male companionship. You may remember that she had an intense relationship with a man named Barry, which she had hoped was leading to marriage. But it didn’t, so Fran has tried to be content with being single and not think about getting married. However, she finds herself looking at attractive men, checking their ring finger out quickly to see if they’re married, daydreaming about whether she’ll ever find someone else to take Jim’s place.

Fran’s social life is pretty well centered around her church. It always has been, and she certainly intends for her children to have that firm and solid foundation of biblical teaching and good friends that they find in their church.

But now that she’s single, Fran isn’t quite sure where she fits in at church anymore. She never realized how everything in church is often so geared toward couples and families. Of course, she is a family and she wants her kids to take part in those family activities. But somehow, as a single woman, she feels awkward.

On this Tuesday evening, a new friend, Patsy, has urged her to come to church for a special singles event. She’s not sure she wants to, but figures if she’ll ever have an opportunity to meet single people, this is the best place to go. So, she has agreed to meet Patsy there.

As she and Jesus head to the church, she says, “You know, Lord, I never thought I’d be part of this singles’ scene again. And I’m not real comfortable with it.”

It’s been a difficult transition for you, Fran,” Jesus replies. “No doubt about that.”

“Well, Jesus, the hardest part is just not fitting in, especially at church. At first I went back to the couples’ class that Jim and I attended, but people didn’t seem to know what to do with me. I seemed to make them nervous, but just because I’m single doesn’t change who I am. I couldn’t understand why they treated me differently,” Fran remembers those early days of widowhood.

“Well, Fran, it seems that people are good at building walls of all kinds—walls between marrieds and singles, young and old, career and traditional moms, divorced and never-marrieds, professional and blue-collar people—all kinds of walls. You know,” Jesus says, “I came to tear down those walls, but Christians still keep putting them back up. It breaks my heart.”

“I guess I’ve done my share of building walls,” Fran replies, “but now that I know how it feels from the other side, I’m going to do my best never to do that again, and just to accept everyone as they are; an individual loved by God and very special.”

“The Church should be the one place where the walls come down,” Jesus says.

As she pulls into the parking lot, Patsy pulls in beside her. “Hi, Fran, glad you came tonight,” Patsy calls as they get out of their cars.

“Yeah, well, I decided it couldn’t hurt, but I’m a little uncomfortable, Patsy,” Fran says.

“Well, you’ll meet lots of nice people here—who knows, Fran, maybe even a man,” Patsy replies.

“Yeah, right, what man wants a woman with two kids to raise?” Fran asks with a laugh, but inwardly hoping that there might be some man here tonight who would find her interesting.

She and Patsy decide to sit together at an empty table, and as they chat away, the table begins to fill up with other singles. A man sits across from Fran and introduces himself as David, new to the city and the church. He looks about 35, not too tall but nice looking, well-dressed, and Fran enjoys their conversation.

“You know, Lord,” she whispers to Jesus, “he really seems to be interested in talking to me. And I’ve already told him I have two kids. Didn’t seem to scare him off.” Fran is a little excited.

“Fran,” Jesus responds, “you don’t have to worry about your kids. They’re great kids and the right kind of man will not find them a problem.”

“Do you think David might be that kind of man?” Fran asks.

“Oh, please Fran; don’t let your thoughts and imaginations run away with you. You’ve just met him. Just talk to him like any other person, be interested in him because he’s a person, and don’t start projecting about a possible relationship. It’s much too soon,” Jesus warns Fran.

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. But he is paying a lot of attention to me,” Fran notes.

After the dinner and program, David continues talking with Fran. He asks if she can have a cup of coffee with him at the McDonald’s down the street. She looks at her watch and knows she should get on home because she promised the sitter to be home by 10:30, but she can’t resist.

“Well, sure David, I can talk for a few minutes,” Fran replies. David suggests they go in his car. All the time Jesus is tugging at Fran’s sleeve trying to get a word in edgewise, but Fran ignores his tugs.

As they get out of the car at the restaurant, Jesus says hurriedly to Fran, “Fran, you’re not listening to me. This is not a smart thing for you to do; you promised the sitter, and besides, you don’t know this man.”

“But, Lord, it’s a public place, and I met him at church. What harm could there be?” Fran says and ignores that inner voice as she walks with David into the restaurant.

The next hour flies by, as Fran and David talk. She learns that he is an architect, just transferred to the city, and is divorced. He explains that he was married for only a few years before they both knew it was a huge mistake, but they stayed together 12 years. He has two sons, age 11 and 13, who live with their mom. He became a Christian after his wife divorced him five years ago.

Suddenly Fran looks at her watch. “Oh, my goodness, it’s almost 11:30. I must go; the sitter is expecting me.” David drives her back to the church parking lot, and as she rushes to her car, he asks if he can call her. She gives him her number.

In the car on the way home, her heart is flying high. “He liked me; he really liked me. And he was so easy to talk to. Got a good job, obviously the divorce wasn’t his fault and besides he wasn’t a Christian then. Nice guy.” As Fran thinks about David, she suddenly realizes that Jesus is there, reading her thoughts, as always. There are times she wishes Jesus didn’t know every thought she had.

She says to him, “Well, there was no harm in that, Jesus, right? It felt good to have some male attention. It’s been a long time.”

“No, nothing wrong except you were somewhat inconsiderate of your sitter, since you promised to be home by 10:30,” Jesus says. “Would you have done that if Patsy had asked you to go to McDonalds?”

“Well, no, I’m sure I would have insisted I had to go home, but don’t I deserve some fun once in awhile? Good grief!” Fran expresses her frustration. “Do I have to always be the responsible mother?”

“Maybe a phone call to the sitter would have been considerate on your part, Fran,” Jesus responds. “At any rate, just think about how quickly you were willing to neglect your responsibility because of a man you have just met.”

“Yeah, you’re right, Lord,” Fran replies. “That is out of character for me. But it felt so good to be with a man.”

Jesus says, “Please remember how vulnerable you are right now, Fran. You’ve been by yourself for quite a while and any male attention is going to start the chemistry going. Don’t be fooled by feelings. And please, don’t let your need for male attention cause you to abandon all your common sense. Do you remember the advice you gave Louise?”

Louise, Fran’s friend from the office, is also single, and she fell hard and fast for a new man she met. Fran warned her not to move too fast, but Louise didn’t listen and ended up with a broken heart.

“But this is different, Lord….” Fran’s voice trails off.

Yes, it’s always different when it happens to you, isn’t it, Fran?” Jesus laughs.

“But the man Louise met was not even a Christian. David is a believer. This is different,” Fran defends herself.

“Well, that certainly is a significant difference, but it doesn’t mean you can let all your heartstrings go wild and not be cautious. Being a Christian is not the only important qualification for a potential relationship, Fran. That’s just the beginning. There are many other very important issues to consider,” Jesus says.

By now they’ve reached home, and Fran hurries in the house, apologizing to the sitter, who is obviously worried and upset. She pays her a little extra and watches as she walks home across the street, with a little guilt at her thoughtlessness tonight.

She crawls into bed, but can’t sleep. She goes over in her mind the entire evening, recalling the conversation with David, how he looked at her, what he said. And in her imagination, the importance of the occasion grows. The next morning, as soon as she shuts the alarm off, she’s thinking about the night before and how nice it was to talk to David.

She sits down with her Bible to spend some time with Jesus, but finds her mind is totally uncontrollable. She’s reading words on the page, but not comprehending anything. She tries to pray, but her mind wanders. Finally, she just gives up, and rushes to get off to work on time.

Jesus is with her all day, as usual, but Fran is too preoccupied to talk with him much. In fact, she has trouble keeping her mind on her work, and the day seems to drag on and on. Several times she finds herself staring at some papers, while daydreaming about David. Wonder if he’ll call tonight? Wonder if he really likes me? Frequently Jesus hems and haws to get her attention, but she doesn’t want to talk to him today. She’s enjoying her fantasies.

Can you see some mistakes that Fran has made already? She is struggling with being single, and it isn’t easy. But with Jesus there, as long as she keeps listening to him, she’ll know what to do.

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What Do You Do with the Hurt?

Feb 3, 2017

PROGRAM D-7765

What do you do with the hurt? It truly is important to be intentional about getting past the hurts of our lives, because when we harbor them, they become destructive forces in our lives, they rob us of joy, and they allow bitterness to take root in our hearts.

There’s one last thing I would say about how you deal with the hurt you’ve experienced. It can sometimes be very important and very necessary for you to confront the person who caused the hurt. Here’s a good suggestion: Write down on a piece of paper or type into your computer exactly what is bothering you, how you have been hurt, and what you would like to say to that person. Then put that in a safe place for two days, and during those two days pray about what God would have you do.

After two days get the paper out or open it up, re-read it, and ask for God’s wisdom. If you still believe you should go to that person and settle this thing, then decide how to tell the truth in love, make sure you’re not acting in anger or just self-interest, and then go to them at an appropriate time.

If you’re not willing to do that, or it no longer seems that important, tear up that piece of paper or delete it from your computer and say to the Lord, “I’m putting this behind me; it is in the past and you will take care of it from this point on. I will, by your grace, get over it.” The worst thing you can do is to keep brooding about it. Either do something or get over it.

Let me close with one of my favorite passages from Isaiah 61:1-3:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

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What Do You Do with the Hurt?

Feb 2, 2017

PROGRAM D-7764

I’ve been talking about what you can do when you’ve been hurt—how to deal with the pain that remains. I pointed out that the hurt we feel resides in our minds, in our thought patterns. Therefore to be free from hurt, you must change your thoughts. The Bible says we must bring our thoughts into captivity and make them obedient to Christ, and that’s exactly what we have to do with the hurt—we drive it from our thoughts by replacing it with good thoughts, positive thoughts, thoughts filled with the love that God has for you.

Then you need to confess whatever responsibility you may have in the hurt. While you may not have had the same amount of responsibility, there may have been a part you played which contributed to the hurt. If so, get it out, confess it, and acknowledge it to yourself and to God. Covering it up or denying it will just allow it to stay alive within you and continue to cause you great harm.

It’s important to get beyond seeing yourself as a victim. Have you become addicted to your pity parties? Believe me, that can happen. It’s that feeling of “it’s me against the world,” and I have a right to be hurt! Of course, your hurt feelings matter, and I don’t mean to make light of the hurt you’ve experienced. But when you allow your feelings to override all else and control you, you put yourself in the victim seat and that is a terrible place to be.

You have choices every day to choose how you’re going to feel. Paul wrote to the Philippians that they should “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.” It’s a choice you can make and the good news is, as a believer in Jesus Christ, you have power far above your own to give you the victory in this battle. With prayer and trusting in the Lord, you can get out of that miserable victim’s seat.

I’ve discovered that another very important thing to do to put hurt behind me is simply to get busy doing something constructive. This is one time you need to get involved in constructive activity that will take your mind off of your hurt feelings and shut down that pity party. A friend of mine tells me that her great-grandmother would frequently say to her, “If you have time to feel sorry for yourself, then you don’t have enough chores to do.” As she puts it, “It is more difficult to ‘wear your feelings on your shirt sleeve’ when you’re ‘rolling up your shirt sleeves’ and serving others.”

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What Do You Do with the Hurt?

Feb 1, 2017

PROGRAM D-7763

Have you been hurt lately? Most of us can recall some fairly recent hurt feelings, can’t we? So, what do we do with the hurt? All-too-often we wallow in the hurt, remembering and retelling it and that just allows the hurt to grow.

A friend of mine wrote this in an article on hurt feelings:

When you’re hurt, do you listen well to the Holy Spirit? Or, are you so busy talking about your hurt that He doesn’t have a chance to get a word in edgewise. Without a supernatural, God-response to hurt, we often wallow in self-pity and embroider around the injustice, especially to our friends or family who will listen. Repeatedly talking about hurt only confirms, convinces, consumes and sets the offense in concrete. In fact, injustice, like a fishing story, always becomes larger in the retelling.

Think about this: The hurt exists in your mind, in your thoughts. It’s all about what you’re thinking about. The hurt continues to be painful because you continue to think about it. If you can learn to bring those hurtful thoughts into captivity and make them obedient to Christ, as we are admonished to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5, then you will begin to find freedom from the hurt.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think of things that are a good report. Usually when our feelings have been hurt, we are thinking about some bad report. It has helped me greatly to tell myself over and over again, when I’m tempted to dwell on some hurt, “Mary, stop thinking about the bad reports. Think about some good reports.” Think of something good that happened recently. Think of someone who loves you. Think of the wonderful truth that as a Christ-follower, you are loved by Jesus Christ and nothing can separate you from his love.

If you want to get rid of the hurt, the first thing you have to do is to make the decision to let it go. And that means you have to carefully guard your thought life and refuse to let your thoughts go to that hurtful place. When you begin to dwell on the hurt, talk out loud to yourself and say, “Stop it. I’m not going there today. I choose to dwell on some good reports.” Let me assure you that you can change your thought patterns, by God’s grace and with his help, if you truly determine to do it.

 

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What Do You Do with the Hurt?

Jan 31, 2017

PROGRAM D-7762

What do you do with the hurt? I don’t have to tell you that life is full of hurt. But it’s what you do with the hurt that will determine if it overcomes you or you have victory over the hurt.

Years ago God began to reveal to me how hooked I was on pity parties. That was my way of dealing with hurt—I just indulged in lots of self-pity. And what came as a major revelation to me was that God sees it as a sin. Whether or not I have a legitimate complaint, wallowing in self-pity, nurturing my hurt feelings was not what a mature Christian should do. I wanted to grow up in Christ, to become more like Jesus, and I began to see how wrong and silly it was for me to insist on my pity parties.

I well remember the night I came home from work with my feelings hurt—again—by my insensitive boss. I was nurturing those hurt feelings by going over in my mind his hurtful words, what I wished I had said to him, what I would say to him someday, how unfair he was, ad infinitum. Instead of doing something productive, I plopped down to waste an evening by throwing another pity party, and pity parties are indeed pitiful since no one ever comes and there is nothing to celebrate.

As I began to indulge myself by feeling sorry for myself, I stopped and thought, I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. I don’t want to be miserable. I will not throw a pity party tonight. And with that I got busy, put those hurt feelings behind me, and got over it! It was a major turning point for me, as I began to learn that I didn’t have to hold onto those hurt feelings. I could, by a set of my will with the power of God’s Spirit, get over it.

Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hurt feelings turn into bitter roots, and those bitter roots grow up to cause trouble.

If you don’t determine to let go of the hurt, it will quickly turn into bitterness, and that is one of the most destructive forces in the world. It causes trouble and defiles many, as the writer to the Hebrews tells us. So then the hurt starts to poison everyone around you, as it spills over to others in your life. The good news is that you can let go of the hurt by God’s grace. It is possible to live free from the hurts you are harboring.

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