Choosing to Overcome: Moving beyond Hurt {Book Club Thursday}

Welcome to Book Club Thursdays!

Own Your Life Book ClubWe’re reading through Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love (aff. link). For your convenience, all the posts in the series are archived {here}. So if you missed any,  feel free to head on over and catch up. Or, to make life even easier,  subscribe to our Book Club Thursdays newsletter and receive all book club posts directly to your email!

Chapter 11: Choosing to Overcome: Moving beyond Hurt {Owning Your Response To Others}

Hurt. I’m sure we all have a story to tell. If we’re honest, we’d even say there have been times when we’ve done the hurting. Either way, if we’re going to own our lives, it’s essential we move beyond hurt and own our response to others.

Through the Eyes of Grace

OYL Chapter 11- Image 1

The thing about walking in hurt is that it blinds us to truth that can heal, restore, and renew us. It keeps us stuck in the moment, in what was done to us, and in how things should’ve, could’ve gone instead. Living in the past keeps us from moving forward. It keeps us from enjoying the blessings right in front of us. It keeps us bound to that very hurt we wish to rid ourselves of.

Something happens though when we look at others through the eyes of grace. We know Jesus loved and died for us when we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). We know how God gave Jesus long before we ever even looked His way (John 3:16). We know that God’s grand love pulled us in close, adopted us into His family, and calls us heirs alongside Jesus (Ephesians 2). What love! What mercy! What grace!

When this truth gets deep inside us, our hearts soften and we extend that same love and grace to others. We give the benefit of the doubt. We try to see their point of view. We pour out grace anyway.

Living beyond Your Boxes

OYL Chapter 11- Image 2

It’s easy to get caught up in boxes and faith labels. The thing with boxes and faith labels is that they’re only known to us. The unbeliever doesn’t have an understanding or reference point for these. We try to talk a spiritual language they’ve yet to learn.

All the while, Jesus says, ‘Hey, listen closely… They will know you’re My disciples by the love you have for each other’ (John 13:35). Love others well. Let your life, and the transformation of the Holy Spirit in it, be your voice piece. Let it speak so loudly the world would have no alternative but to see, believe, and know we belong to Him.

Those labels we use in the church… yeah, live beyond them. You’ll be amazed at how much more people begin to see Jesus when we do.

No Pointing Fingers

I learned this lesson years ago and it didn’t feel so good when I looked at the foolishness of it all. Here it is. Every time you point at someone, there are three more fingers pointing back at you. Go ahead. Point with your hand. See the three fingers glaring back at you, pointing in your direction?

It’s the sawdust versus log principle (Luke 6:42). I was reading to my daughter and when I looked at her she had something in the corner of her eye. I tried to help her, and she says, “I got it.” She clears her eye and says matter-of-factly, “It’s log dust.”  She made me laugh, for sure. But perhaps it would do us some good to do the same, Oh yeah, it’s log dust, right here in my own eye. I better take care of that first. Perhaps we’d do better to tend our own gardens. Maybe we’d find less offense in others if we looked at how much work needs to be done in our own lives.

Define Yourself by Jesus, Not by Religious Rules

So the next time you feel criticism bubbling up inside you, the next time you feel judgment creeping its ugly head up, remember Jesus. He loved the sinner. He came for the lost, the hurt, the sinner. He despised the religiosity of the Pharisees. Pointing of the fingers was never His style. Rather, He took the time to meet people where they were and pointed their hearts back to God. We’d do a world of good if we followed His example.

Moving past hurt and owning our response to others requires us to define ourselves by Jesus, not by religious rules. If we want to see and know God, we simply have to look to Jesus. In knowing Him, we know God (Hebrews 1:3). How we think, how we feel, how we speak, how we react all changes as we know more of Him. We begin to walk in the assurance and confidence that comes from knowing who we are in Him. Along the way, we look at others through that lens as well. We begin to love like Jesus loves. We begin to forgive the way God forgave. We own our hurts and we choose to respond in a way that honors God

Learning to Move On

There comes a time when the hurt and bitterness of a situation becomes too heavy a burden to bear. Years pass and we find ourselves still weighted down by it all. Unable to move on, we’re like stagnant waters. Everything flowing out of us stinks.

But then there’s a different response–the beautiful truth that when we forgive, let go, and trust God, healing comes. When we see ourselves in the light of God’s forgiveness, salvation, and redemption, we grow in grace, mercy, and compassion towards others. Waters of life begin to flow again and we pour out of the generosity God’s so lavishly poured upon us.

When the thoughts of previous hurts attack our minds, we learn to take them back to God, forgive again, and again, and again, and extend grace. We choose love. We choose forgiveness. We choose freedom.

A little note to be added here: Grace and forgiveness does not equate putting yourself back in an abusive situation. Whether you’ve experienced  abuse mentally, physically, emotionally, or sexually, forgiveness and moving past hurt does not mean that what was done to you is okay. Rather, it means you’re choosing to break free from the prison of hate, unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness. You’re letting God stand for you and you’re trusting Him for justice. You’re choosing to walk in the freedom He provides.

Let Love Define You

OYL Chapter 11- Image 3

So how do we let love define us? I thought it proper to end today’s book club with Sally’s words. She puts it so well:

“Overcoming and learning to love is often one of the most difficult choices we make when we have been wounded, treated unjustly, or used by those who lack the same commitment to love. Yet when we give in to the unbiblical standards of others, we just diminish our souls and stunt our own growth. 

Sacrificial love takes us on a journey to the deeper places of our souls. It requires a death to self, but in the end, it leads to a deeper, more mature appreciation of what it really cost Christ to redeem us. It is then that we will begin to share in the deep fellowship of God as a kindred spirit and truly begin to take on the image of Jesus.”

So, how are you releasing the hurts in your life?  Are you owning your response to others? What has that looked like for you?  Let’s talk about it (feel free to do so in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or privately).

Then meet me here next week when we’ll continue Owning Our Lives by Harvesting a Godly Character  and Owning Our Integrity.

*unless otherwise noted, all quotes are by Sally Clarkson.

Thoughts To Ponder

1.) Sally describes effective ways she’s learned to overcome negative experiences with others. Can you describe a time when you have been hurt by other Christians? How did you move past it?

2.) Why are love, forgiveness, and discernment so important in getting past the hurts others inflict?

Discussion Questions graciously provided by Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life Team
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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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