As you watch people, you begin to notice a pattern. One of those patterns is that people hurt people.
You and I have watched this through the years. We’ve seen it in our lives, and we’ve seen it in other people’s lives. People hurt people. They do it by their words, and they hurt people by their actions. Nobody has to tell you this is the case. As a child I heard people say “sticks and stones may break my bones . . .”, but I knew the rest of that little saying had very little truth to it.
Instead, the truth is this: words hurt and they hurt the most from people who are the closest to us.
But the second truth is even more telling. People hurt other people and most of the time those are hurting people.
It’s helped me in church work to know that most of the people who hurt others have been hurt deeply and/or experienced real pain themselves. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, it’s helped to understand the needs of hurting people.
Some of that pain probably came from childhood through what parents did either intentionally or unintentionally. Sometimes those parents took out their pain on their children. Now those children are hurting as adults and wind up hurting other people.
How does the church help hurting people who are hurting others?
I believe in responsibility. I don’t want to excuse bad and hurtful behavior, but I know that people who hurt others have tremendous needs.
It’s easy to pull away from those people who hurt you. In fact, it’s the easiest thing to do.
But what those people need is somebody who cares for them unconditionally.
Hurting people need deep friendships. They need people who will seek to understand them and get to know them. This isn’t always easy because hurting people drive people away.
Yet those people need to be heard and understood.
One thing I would ask. As the church, care for the people who are hurting and also care for the people who are hurting others.
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