I remember one such incident. This is a scene that is forever etched in mind and I can still see it like it was yesterday. I was around 14 years old; I was playing football in a park with a bunch of my friends. They ball was tossed to me and went over my head and across the road and almost into a creek bed. I ran to save it before it hit the water, and on my way back across the road, one of the boys in the group yelled, "Hey! Look at the baby moose crossing the road."
Ouch! Not exactly something a fragile 14 year old girl needed at that time. I was devastated, embarrassed and most of all that never left my mind for years and years. I believed I was a big fat moose. This and many other jokes about my weight lead to years of disordered eating, and poor body image.
What happened to me that day is something that the Christian author Frank Peretti calls the wounded spirit. Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but as for a broken spirit who can bear it? Everytime someone knowingly or unknowingly throws an unkind word our way, it wounds our spirit.
Did you know? That Christians are biblically obligated to treat others with kindness? Jesus said the second greatest commandment was that we are to love, our neighbours as ourselves, and to do to others, what we would want them to do to us.
1 Corninthians 10:23-24 says: We are allowed to do anything, but not everything is good for us to do. We are allowed to do anything, but not all things help us grow strong as Christians. Do not work only for your own good. Think of what you can do for others.
What Paul was talking about whether or not it was lawful to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols and what he’s saying here is basically: because of Jesus and the freedom that His death on cross gave Jews/Christians, (liberty theology) all things are lawful, however he goes on to say that not all things we do will help us grow as Christians, nor will they make others feel good, in fact we could be harming them. He’s says whatever we do we should do it for the good of others. Wow!
So, how does this relate to us today? Has there ever been a time when you heard something mean being said about someone and said nothing? Maybe there was a time when perhaps you were the one with the mean words, or damaging words were being sent your way. Perhaps you watched someone be bullied and you were afraid to say anything so you just watched or joined in, or ran away and didn’t tell anyone.
Maybe, you think it will make you look cool or help people like you more, maybe you will fit in better if you act like other people are and be a jerk. And you know what that’s okay that’s your choice. But you have to ask your self, is this making me a better Christian? Am I helping someone else to feel good about themselves?
Some might think oh not me, not in my home or my school but you know what studys have shown that this type of thing happen in Christian homes and schools in the exact some percentages as those of nonbelievers. After all, being Christian doesn’t make us perfect it makes us even more human.
Perhaps you stand at the water cooler and you laugh at all the cutting remarks about the boss, or maybe even throw a few jabs in yourself. Maybe you’ve said things to your kids or spouse in times of anger. Maybe you’ve acted a way that’s just not you, just so people will accept you and like you.
And you know what I’m hear to tell you that there probably isn’t a person who hasn’t at one or time or another, said or did something that was not very edifying to others. Just last week I did something that really hurt another person and I had to repent for my actions once I realized what I'd done.
You know another great gift that Jesus gave us was the gift of forgiveness. We are so lucky because he forgives us when we don’t treat people the way he would. But, it would make him so much happier if we just tried harder not to hurt people with our words or actions in the first place. Because when hurtful things are done to people, it prevents them from being all that God wants them to be.
So what can we do today to make sure we aren’t causing anyone to have a wounded spirit.
- If you have a tendancy towards this type of behavior or perhaps you've recently hurt someone you need to repent and turn from this behavior. First, realize that you are forgiven. Jesus loves you and already paid the price for you and that you are loved and forgiven period. Nothing you've done can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!
- Pray and seek His forgiveness and know that you have received it without question. And as Jesus would say, "Go and sin no more!" Ask the person who you hurt to forgive you also. hen ask Jesus to help you to resist this temptation the next time you are tempted to sin and hurt someone. Stop it! Just refuse to treat people poorly. Refuse to do what everyone else is doing just because it will make you look cool or belong. In this world we love to put people up on pedastels - just so we can knock them down. Don't do that. Refuse to operate the way the world does. Romans 12:2 says this: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- If you see someone being treated poorly – don’t allow it stand up for that person or go tell someone and get them some help. Don’t let their spirit be wounded. If you are someone whose spirit has been wounded or perhaps is still being wounded, you need you need to talk to God and then you need to tell someone that this is happening to you. Tell someone you trust. And most, of all if you can, you need to confront the person and ask them to stop, especially if that person is a Christian.
- As Christ followers we must forgive those that have wounded us. This can be very hard, but bitterness and resentment can also be a doorway to enemy. You need to forgive those that hurt you, you cannot heal yourself until you do this. Jesus forgives us when we do wrong, so as hard as it is you must also forgive others and God commands us to do this also. Mathew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
What this verse is telling us isn't that God won't forgive you because as I said earlier with Christ sacrafice for your sins, you are already forgiven. What it really means is if you are carrying around bitterness in your heart you won't feel forgiven and you will stay in a constant crazy cylce of anger, resentment and bitterness. That alone will make you mean and nasty. You can't walk in the fullness of God's blessing and won't have the abundant life Christ died to give us, you will be stuck in bondage to the unforgiveness.
- Lastly, if you are finding this temptation hard to resist. Consider whether you might be dealing with a spiritual oppression. If you find that you've repented but still can't resist the temptation to sin towards other people or are always feeling negative towards people you should seek the Lord to see if there is a negative spirit operating through you, perhaps an unkind spirit. These kinds of spirits can come onto us when we ourselves get wounded even as young as a child. It may be more than your own flesh at work here. If you think it's spiritual you have the authority to pray and tell it to come off you in Jesus Name, or you may need to seek the help of a pastor or spiritual counsellor to help you with this to discover your own spiritual wound that might be acting as a doorway for the enemy in this area.
We are called of God to be like Jesus in this world. I encourage you today to know that the more you know Him and His power in your life the easier it will get to become like Him. This has nothing to do with a works mentality. Being kind to others, especially when it's hard is a bi-product of the Holy Spirit living in you and nothing else. Without Him living a righteous life is pretty much impossible. When you realize the truth that Jesus actually lives on the inside of you through the Holy Spirt and you can manifest the same power as Him you will begin to transform. When you are filled with the Spirit of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to operate through you instead of negative evil forces, you will naturally radiate God's love and you become more and more like Him. Which is ultimately who we really are and why we were placed on this earth -- to be a beacon of God's love to one another.
Blessings on your journey - my fellow narrow gate travellers. ~Laura Sterling - Narrow Gate Traveller Ministries~
Prayer for today: Lord help me not to be someone who wounds with my words or actions. Thank you that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is alive in me. I give you permission Lord to fully sanctify me and move through my being today God. Help me to lay down all my temptations and fleshly desires today. Show me what I need to do to become "Jesus with skin on" in this world that so desperately needs to see Him. Show me where I need repentance in my life, thank you for forgiving all my sin. Heal my heart fully Lord, so that I can be a blessing to you and may I fully walk in my salvation today, fully consecrated to your Word and your Way. AMEN!