Healing Our Hurts
"Worst of all wounds is that of the heart".—Sirach 25:12a
Sometimes we are wounded by unkind words. Sometimes it is the actions of others that leave us feeling rejected, abandoned or betrayed. Whatever the circumstances, when someone hurts us, the feeling does not fade quickly. In some way, the hurt stays with us and subtly influences the things we do, or won't do, in the future.
It is certainly natural for you to feel sad, or even angry, when someone does something hurtful. You may feel like you want to punish the person, or get revenge for the way they've treated you. You are tempted to say things that you don't mean. You think that you might feel better if you can hurt the other person the way they've hurt you. In the end though, hurting the other person doesn't take away your sadness or pain. Being hurt makes you a little less trusting; a little more reluctant to take the risk of friendship or give your heart away next time.
People say that "time heals all wounds". The hurt may become less intense with the passage of time, but dulling the pain does not necessarily mean you have healed. Pain and resentment can lie just below the surface. Another incidence of hurt can reopen old wounds or cut even deeper. A string of hurts can lead to an emotional numbness—leaving you unable to feel much of anything.
Keeping busy with other things can provide a welcome distraction when you are hurting. Finding new interests can take your mind off your hurts and help you to focus on something positive. It's even a good idea to do some volunteer work. Helping people in need has a way of putting your problems (and hurts) in perspective.
It is most important to remember that, no matter what, God is faithful to us when we are hurting. His gentle care can console us and be a source of strength after we've been hurt. We have only to look to the Psalms to find reassurance of God's constancy and support. "When the just cry out, the Lord hears and rescues them from all distress. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed" (Ps 34:18-19). "I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth" (Ps. 121:1-2).
Jesus told his disciples that anything they asked of God in prayer would be given them. We believe that God can heal our broken hearts when we turn to him in prayer. God can and will heal you. Your healing doesn't only depend on God, though; it also requires your willingness to do what is necessary to cooperate with God's healing grace.
Usually, true healing involves forgiving the person who hurt you. This is very difficult. In some cases, forgiveness may seem impossible; but nothing is impossible with God. Unless you can forgive, with God's help, you will carry around the hurt and it will have lasting effects in your life. Forgiving is a process of letting go of the injury. It frees you from the pain and sadness associated with being wounded.
Forgiveness is indeed one of the gifts of God. If you look at the ministry of Jesus in the Scriptures, forgiveness and healing go hand-in-hand. Jesus restored the health of people who were ill, reconciled outcasts to a place within the community, and forgave sinners. In countless ways, Jesus showed forth God's healing touch. Today, the Church continues to celebrate God's healing power in the sacraments. The Sacrament of the Sick and the Sacrament of Reconciliation are both known as sacraments of healing. In every Eucharist, we pray for healing and for the ability to forgive those who have hurt us. Only with God's grace can we be healed from our hurts—and become whole and holy to live our lives in the joy of children of God.
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