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  • Katie Smith

That hurts

The sting of dislikes travels beyond the social media world. Even if you detach yourself from the pains of electronic approvals and "thumbs up," technology in the hands of flawed people can still sting your soul. We have all been the byproduct or source of such hurt.

While humans have always stung each other with words, even before the invention of technology, there's a significant difference between those who leave their stingers in someone's skin fearing the awkward acknowledgement, and those who choose the hard work of pulling out the stinger in order to avoid the death of that relationship.

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 says, "Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you—for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others." This sobering verse requires a simultaneous choice to evade eavesdropping and paranoia, while also giving grace from a certain level humility.

But what happens when the whispers are unavoidable? You become the recipient of malicious talk directed at you but meant for someone else to hear. You accidentally receive a text intended for someone else's phone, which drives a sting into your skin.

Certainly acknowledgement, forgiveness and mercy should follow from both parties, but what if those exceptional devices merely provide another layer of avoidance. Just pretend the incident never occurred. Pretend you don't receive their wounded text back. Avoid any direct or indirect conversations in person. Hope the invisible wires of connectivity keep you distant enough to have any humiliating admittance. Cell screens are a perfect smoke screen.

Unfortunately this route deepens divides by leaving the stinger between two parties. Then the hurt party ruminates on Psalm 12: "Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts."

Ouch! That hurts. BUT be careful, if you are the injured person (as I was recently), you may begin the same vicious cycle of flattery and disloyalty via your lips or texting fingertips. If you don't forgive your slanderer, you become the slanderer. Even if they don't ask for forgiveness, it is possible to forgive those who hurt you. You must humbly accept that you yourself possess the same cursing thoughts, and remove the sting yourself.

Once the wound heals, you can begin to ask God a new question: Why was I privy to the hurtful words? Why allow me to see all the deception in their heart? Perhaps a practice in humble forgiveness, or maybe you were placing too much emphasis on the relationship. God may be moving you in a new direction, and your comfort among certain groups was keeping you from seeing the need to change.

Even if you don't find an answer, all relational struggles give us a chance to deepen our understanding of a need to relate to God. When we suffer, from stings or silly slander, we can grow stronger and look more like God's son. He had more than a bee stinger wedged into his hands and feet. The nails did more than hurt, they actually healed us with His forgiveness. He died despite our ongoing struggle with sin and slander, and knowing many would never even ask for forgiveness. This fact aids in healing broken relationships every day.

No matter how broken you or your relationships are today, their is a balm that works miracles. Give the pain to God, and ask Him to help you forgive and move towards supernatural healing.

~Healing with humility Carefully and Carelessly

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