Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Hurt People Hurt Others – There Must Be A Better Way

1 Peter 3:9

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

Over the weekend hatred reared it’s ugly head once again in our nation. Satan had a field day as 3 people died and at the last report 35 others were injured. And a nation – leaders – and others – are picking sides and blaming each other for the violence – deaths – and injuries. Folks are also wagging fingers at others for not seeing things their way and condemning the other side with the words they see appropriate.

A radical hate group – some have even called them a homeland radical terrorist group – a group of white supremacists – who believe they are better than others because of the color of their skin – clashed with another group in Charlottesville – Virginia. I stand opposed to any group that represents themselves as a neo-Nazi movement. I stand opposed to any group that believes they are better than others because of the color of their skin.

The protests soon became an angry confrontation – between two differing sides of a point of view (I’m not trying to minimize their difference). Hatred – on both sides – as evidenced by the video clips – erupted. Innocent people – standing up for their view and rights are often caught up in the hatred of others. Apparently – and we will know more when the investigations conclude – a member of the white supremacy group ran a vehicle into a crowd of protestors – killing one person and injuring many others. When the local and national investigation is complete – we will probably find guilt on both sides. Yet the evil – sinful – premise that some people are better than others because of the color of their skin or their nation of origin is an evil we cannot ignore and bares the brunt – IMHO – of the responsibility for the violence. This is not a view that can be or should be supported in American!

One truth that I have always heard through the years is this – hurting people hurt others. If healing is to occur – we need for people to break the chain of hurting each other. In marriage counseling I often run into couples who are in a vicious cycle of tit for tat (equivalent retaliation) – he/she did this or said this and so I must say or do this back! Trying to give as much as we get is not healthy! The Old Testament’s tooth for tooth justice is not good for trying to heal relationships. The New Testament call to turn the other cheek is what will allow for the space for healing.

Often – in marriage counseling – we have to come to ground zero – a place where we call time out and suggest a cleaning of the slate – forgetting/forgiving the past (and this is not easy for sure) – because the past has so much baggage and distress – it is hard to move forward – continuing in the past pain. I’m not suggesting the past isn’t important or shouldn’t be dealt with – eventually – but in order to move beyond the breaking point – a cleansing often has to occur. The camel’s back broke from the weight of one more piece of straw because there was so much straw already on it’s back. If – even temporarily – each straw could be dealt with on it’s own rather than as part of the pile – we might find some room for healing. If we can get the place of dealing with each hurt individually – we usually give each partner some things to work on – like work on loving their partner and respecting their partner – even if they don’t merit it. Showing love and respect often allows for a space for healing.

We will not heal the race problem in our nation if each side continues to remind us – every time we meet – of the sordid history of racism in our nation. Hatred will always exist within the extremes of each side to every argument. These extremists need to be rebuked and called out as outside the norm – outside the acceptable realm of decent humans everywhere.

Today’s passage talks about giving grace. 1 Peter 3:9 – Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. When we can show love – show mercy – when what is fair is to retaliate – that gives space for healing. Godly behavior allows for grace and love – even when it is not deserved.

Think with me about the last argument you and your spouse had – or you and any friend/co-worker/family member. It most likely wasn’t that big of a deal – it didn’t have to end the way it did – but it soon escalated because each side allowed past hurts to enter the picture and each person tried to one up the other in the argument – trying to hold their ground or to get in their shots. In marriage – we know each other very well – and have a history. We know what upsets the other person – we know how to push their buttons and make them emotional – angry – or shut down. We need to learn to fight fair – as I call it – and not allow ourselves to go for the soft underbelly of our partner.

When our partner says something that hurts – don’t quickly think of what we can say to hurt them back – instead – give space – allow for healing – repay their hurtful statement with a blessing – tell them how much we love them (yes – right in the midst of an argument). Many arguments are not really worth the effort – now are they? Is the hurt of going toe to toe really worth it (I know – making up can be such fun – but the damage of the argument can take it’s toll over time)? Is there really a winner when we develop hard feelings in our marriage through an argument? Can’t we do better by showing love – even in hurtful situations? I’m just saying… Be a blessing rather than part of the hurt!

Could we have avoided what happened in Charlottesville? I think it could have been. A hate group – a racist group – wanted to protest the legally approved removal of a Confederate statue. They have a right to peacefully protest. Did those who oppose their view have to have a counter protest at the same time? Didn’t someone think that this confrontation of diametrically opposed views and groups have the potential to end ugly? If there needed to be a counter protest – couldn’t it have happened at another time or place. If it had to happen at the same time and the same place – couldn’t law enforcement or protest leaders have kept the groups apart? Don’t get me wrong – the hearts of evil men and women will design ways to hurt others they disagree with – ultimately – but why did the second protest group even put themselves in the place for such evil to strike? Help me understand what positive result could have happened by two diametrically opposed groups confronting each other. It was obvious to me – through watching the video clips the media shared – that some on both sides came armed for confrontation. There were those on both sides that did not have peace in mind! We must not allow the radicals – the extremists on any side – to define who we are as a nation – as a people. We must find a better way to improve our society. There must be a better way!

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

P.S. With all of the unrest in North Korea and in other places around the globe – Satan wants our nation to be divided and battling within our own borders – so that we do not have the resolve and unity to fight evil as it flourishes outside of our boarders. Just a thought!

August 14, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Good response. True. Thanks you, Dana Werts


    Comment by Dana Werts | August 15, 2017 | Reply

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