Healing. Sweetness. Joy. Edification. Humility.

If you try to make this stuff happen, you will fail. The stuff I talk about here is the fruit. The root is the forgiveness, compassion, benevolence, and prayer we looked at in part one.

Part one is the means. Part two is the ends. If you focus on pursuing the ends as an end in itself, they will elude you. But a biblical response to hurt leads to increasing…

Healing vs. brokenness

It would be presumptuous to judge a person based on their level of healing. Nevertheless, healing—to one degree or another—is what happens when we forgive and learn to reach out in love to those who have wronged us. It may be swift. It may take more than a lifetime. There will almost always be scars left over. But the process of healing moves forward, not through gazing on our own broken image in the mirror, but rather we are changed as we gaze on the glorious face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Sweetness vs. bitterness

I hesitate to even use the word “bitterness” here for two reasons. First, because the word has so often been used as a club with which to perpetrate further damage on those who are wounded. Second, because by the word bitterness, I do not mean resentment as the word is commonly used in this context. Rather, I mean (as the Oxford Dictionary so well puts it) “sharpness of taste; lack of sweetness.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 speaks of us as children of God walking “in love” just as Christ loved us and “gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The question is, is the fragrance of our offering sweet to God? Or is our life rancid; sharp; bitter in the nostrils of God?

In his statement cited in part one, David Brainerd goes on to say:

Oh, it is an emblem of heaven itself to love all the world with a love of kindness, forgiveness, and benevolence; to feel our souls sedate, mild, and meek; to be void of all evil surmisings and suspicions and scarce able to think evil of any man upon any occasion; to find our hearts simple, open, and free, to those that look upon us with a different eye! (3 March, 1744)

Indeed, it is. May God multiply this emblem to us.

Joy vs. despair

You might think letting go releases the offender. In reality, it releases you. In holding on, we chain ourselves to the evil. How many have been driven to despair in the prison of their own hatred. When we let go, we are free to move forward. We are free to love and live as the cross demands—by grace. And grace cannot but lead to joy.

Building up vs. tearing down

Scott Wendal told me years ago “Hurting people hurt people. Healed people help people.” There’s some truth in that. We can help others to the extent—and only to the extent—that we have been helped by God. When we cling to the wrong, maintaining a hostile, vengeful, slanderous spirit, we slowly become incapable of building. We don’t even notice that our sin keeps us from building others and instead casts a shadow of negativity on those around us. But when we forgive in a spirit of compassion, benevolence, and prayer, we find that we are once again free to be filled with the sort of joy in Christ that bubbles over into the lives of those around us (Ephesians 4:29).

Humility vs. pride

This is the ultimate issue when we’ve been hurt. The hurt may be very real, but it is our pride that refuses to let it go. “I was treated wrong and I won’t stand for it!” The hardness of pride is the opposite of the tender heart that Paul refers to in Ephesians 4:32. Tenderness comes from the humility of seeing ourselves as we truly are, at the foot of the cross shouting “Crucify him!” Tenderness comes from realising that we desperately need, but do not deserve, the grace of God in the atoning work of Christ on that execution hill. Humility comes from remembering that we have received such grace! And such a remembrance makes letting go make sense.

Healing. Sweetness. Joy. Edification. Humility.

May God work these graces in our hearts as we gaze on the cross and allow ourselves to be transformed by its truth.

Grace to you.

this is part 2 of 3 in the series
When you've been hurt

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About Jason Harris

Dr Jason Harris is a writer, pastor, and academic. He has authored multiple books, articles, and papers including his book Theological Meditations on the Gospel. Jason has a PhD from James Cook University as well as degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research. Jason has lived in Cairns, Australia since 2007 and serves as pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@jasonharris.com.au.

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