When we’ve been treated badly, we should always ask ourselves what we can learn from the experience. We need to consider how we could respond in a more Christlike way, whether we’re willing to acknowledge mistakes, and figure out how we can grow wiser and handle similar situations better in the future. When misunderstanding has caused the difficult circumstance, the answer is forgiveness. We can often try and avoid the process of forgiveness because we think it’s like letting someone off the hook for what they’ve done. But forgiveness doesn’t mean we necessarily agree with or want a closer relationship with the person who mistreated us. It does mean that we let it go, which prevents bitterness from building up inside us. The Bible says: ‘To be greater is to forgive the one who has treated you badly.’ The process of forgiveness can be challenging, and it might take us longer than we think it will. We often need to work through lots of emotions, thoughts, and resentments that have built up. Uprooting these things is hard work, but God will give us the strength we need to be able to do it. The Message version paraphrases Jesus’ words in Luke 6 like this: ‘Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is…the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable…be glad when that happens…all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my…witnesses have always been treated like this’ (vv.22-23). By living this way, we also take back our power by refusing to let another person dictate our mood and our perspective, and we keep our joy.
Next time someone hurts you, take some time to reflect on how you responded and write down any ways you could be more like Jesus if it happened again.
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