A right response to hurt

Selwyn opens today’s study, with these words: “We continue pondering the question: does Jesus know how we feel when we are hurt by cruel and unkind criticism?”

He answers his question, as follows: “The Christian world-view (as Selwyn, sees it), is to face and acknowledge your feelings and recognise they are there. It is not a sin to be hurt. This is a very human response to the instinct for self-preservation that is within all of us. It is a sin only when we harbour a hurt. In my opinion, cruel and unjust criticism would have hurt our Lord deeply, but He made sure that the hurt would be quickly offered to God and not allowed to develop into bitterness in His soul.”

What do you think of his answer?

In Matthew 14:18b-23, NLT, we read: ” … Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. … “

Just before Jesus feed this crowd of people, He was told about the execution of John the Baptist, this news would have greatly distressed Him – yet, as was His practice – He took His grief to His Father. Soon after, He was able to look at the crowd and see them, not as an inconvenience at a time of grieving but as a people, lost without a shepherd. He had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14).

After feeding the people – He went up into the hills by himself to pray – again, to share with His Father (I think), His feelings and thoughts on the progress of His journey; and, to hear His Father’s words. In summary, Jesus provides for us, an example – that in the bad times as well as the good times, we should always take our emotions (joys, as well as hurts) and thoughts to God, on a regular basis – and, we will find compassion in Him. 

When was the last time you went to a place by yourself with your hurts and joys, and prayed – offering to God – yourself, and your future?

Cruel and unjust criticism

Selwyn, in today’s study, talk s about coping with cruel and unjust criticism; and, briefly covers his experience with constructive and destructive criticism.

I liked his conclusion:” … the way I evaluate a situation determines my feelings, not necessarily the event itself – hence I have a responsibility to evaluate things correctly and put them in their right perspective. Allowing for all that, however, I still feel hurt. Does Jesus know how I feel? I would feel utterly bereft and alone if I did not believe that He does.”

It often happens that sometimes we hear a person say something, and we mis-intrepret the intention of their words – this type of mistake does occur yet the hurt and rejection felt at that moment – is real. That’s why it’s important to ‘evaluate things correctly’; and, it may be appropriate to seek clarification from the person as to what they meant. I think it’s better to ask the questions (after presenting the matter to Jesus in prayer) and risk some embarrassment, than to ‘stew’ on the person’s words for weeks – and make yourself miserable – over a misunderstanding.

The other area which I liked – is a subset of the verses set for reading and meditation (Mark 8:6-13, NLT): ‘So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to his disciples, who distributed the bread to the crowd. A few small fish were found, too, so Jesus also blessed these and told the disciples to distribute them.

They ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were about 4,000 people in the crowd that day, and Jesus sent them home after they had eaten.

Immediately after this, he got into a boat with his disciples and crossed overto the region of Dalmanutha. When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.” So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.’

After reading these words, I wondered:  Just how much, are we, causing Jesus to sigh deeply; with the demands we constantly place upon Him – in an attitude of – ‘if you love me, You will give me a sign from heaven, and produce a miracle for me’?  Is His patience with the western world coming to an end – and, in a symbolic way – cross to the other side of the lake and turn His back and block His ears, to our constant whinging and hypocrisy? Thankfully, His grace is such –  that it’s infinite!

In Luke 12:4-7 (NLT), we hear Jesus saying: ‘ “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.’

At those times when you are hurt by cruel and unjust criticism keep in mind that God will never forget you, He knows you so well – that the smallest detail of your life is known by Him.  He knows when you are hurt, and when He sees you in the distance walking towards Him, burdened by your pain – He will run towards you – arms outstretched. Such is God’s love for you!