Over the past five years or so, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside bullying expert Brooks Gibbs. Brooks’ approach to bullying centers around The Golden Rule, a biblical principle for conflict resolution. Simply stated,
Treat people who hurt you the way you’d like to be treated when you mess up.
With grace and mercy.
Sounds simple, but living out The Golden Rule can be the hardest thing we ever do.
Our first reaction is to hurt people back when they hurt us. (Or to fixate on ways we’d like them to suffer, often while we try continue to act spiritual). Like the time somebody slid into my dad’s parking space, so he waited for them to go into the store, then let the air out of their tires.
My dad.The church board chairman.
We all fight the desire to be air-letter-outers. We’re all the same: self-centered sinners.
Over the past few months, I’ve been deeply hurt by friends. I’ve wanted to hurt back, but that emotion is always my first clue that I need to look at my motives, my goals, and truly be conformed to the image of Jesus. Faith alone won’t make me like Jesus, 2 Peter 1:3-8 describes the process: faith + knowledge (not information, but a piercing of my heart that changes my behavior) + virtue (I partake in Jesus’ divine nature) + steadfastness + godliness = brotherly affection and love.
When I seek God’s kingdom first, my heart is compelled by His grace and mercy.
On Sunday I ran into one of the friends I felt had hurt me. I hadn’t spoken to her in months. I’m sure she felt I’d hurt her as strongly as I felt she’d hurt me.
She brushed my arm as she passed me. I turned to her and told her I loved her and missed her, which was so very true.
Treating others the way we want to be treated when we’re hurt compels us to act lovingly.
So how do we this?
- Focus on God’s love for us.
- Remind ourselves of our goal: to become like Jesus.
- Submit to the Word of God and the moving of the Spirit.
- Commit to small steps.
- Move when the Spirit of God speaks to us.
Living out 2 Peter 1: 3-8 and The Golden Rule helped me move from hurt to healing,
But it required me to lay down my stubborn pride, lean into a hug and tell an old friend I loved and missed her. It meant looking into her eyes and meaning what I said. It meant giving up the lie that I had a right to carry a grudge because I don’t?
What about you? What helps you move from hurt to healing?