The words hung in the air as he continued to look at his paper. Thinking he may not have heard, she repeated her words.
"Fine. I heard you the first time," came the biting reply.
Tears stinging her eyes, she wonders why he has to be like that. Would it be so hard to just say good-bye like a normal person?
In another home, a similar drama plays out, but this one cuts deeper. She reaches for him, needing affection that only a husband should provide, and he pulls away, claiming to have too much on his mind. She wonders what is wrong with her, trying to be understanding even though rejection cuts deep. Over their ten year marriage, this scene has played itself out too many times to count.
Hurt feelings. We all get them. How we react is up to us. I went through a little phase recently where I was constantly having my feelings hurt. Hormonal tailspin or justified reaction really doesn't matter. Here are a few questions I've learned to ask myself:
- Is pride at the root of my hurt? Do I feel like I deserve better? This is a hard question to ask, because sometimes the other person is clearly in the wrong, but that doesn't give us the right to stew. Dwelling on the injustice leads to bitterness and gives the devil a foothold in our thoughts. Don't make it easy for him.
- What does God want me to learn from this situation? In the case of feeling rejected by someone, even when they are sinning against you, God is allowing that. What does He want you to gain, because He only brings you what is best for you. He promises to work all things together for good, remember (Romans 8:28)? His purpose for us is to glorify Him, and His plan for us is that we grow to become more Christlike. Are you letting your situation lead you in that direction?
- How can I offer grace to someone? I am not perfect (insert surprised look here) and need to remember that as God gives grace to me, I can offer it. That doesn't mean in a co-dependent, make excuses and coddle someone way, but to continue to love them through their snarkiness. Speak the truth in love, and call them out on their behavior if you feel lead, but not in a judmental self-serving way. Our first concern needs to be seeing someone right with God for their good and His glory, not just to make our lives better.
- What role have I played? Nothing exists in a vacuum, and each day often carries the weight of all the days that preceded it. Are there on-going dramas that need to be resolved? I know I tend to put this little self-protective martyr bubble around me, and I need to really examine myself and my behavior that lead up to a situation. Often I find that my own thoughtless comments or disrespect have thrown fuel on a fire that I didn't know was burning. Like Jesus says, don't look for the mite in another's eye with a plank sticking out of our own.
I am praying that you feel the arms of God wrapping around you, providing peace and comfort, and that you hear the whisper that He has for you when life hurts.