Updated: Nov 18, 2022
There’s a difference between OBJECTIVE hurt and SUBJECTIVE hurt. When Paul was stoned at Lystra and dragged outside of the city and left for dead (Acts 14:8-28), he was objectively hurt on a physical level!
Specific physical wounds, like Paul received at Lystra, take a specific amount of time to heal. However, when people reviled Paul, when they criticized him in a verbally insulating way, Paul understood that those words could only hurt him if he allowed them to. Likewise, the words that people say, that so often offend us and sometimes cut us deeply, can either hurt us for the rest of lives, or we can dismiss the verbal nonsense, forgive the offense immediately, and only allow the hurt to offend us briefly. The amount of subjective hurt we receive from others' offenses is up to us.
We see from Philippians 1:12-21 that Paul had many haters. He had a lot of abusers who wanted to "add affliction" to him (v. 16). But despite the many reasons for Paul to be offended at people, his actions of joy (v. 18) and boldness (v. 20) indicate that he never allowed these temporal offenses to cause him to stumble from fulfilling his eternal goal of making Christ known (vv. 18-21)!
When someone offends you, you get to determine how long it hurts you.
The cliché statement, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words/names will never hurt me,” is not fully true; words do hurt. But you have control over how bad the hurt is.
For your sake, I urge you to quickly forgive others of their offenses and, instead of living a life full of drama, live a life full of forgiveness. You’ll be glad you did.
The above article was written by James C. Johnson. He is the Pastor of Northstone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email him at email@example.com
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