We had a visit from a lovely young man last week at church. After leading us in a time of worship, he shared briefly about two new songs that he had been inspired to write. And in an introduction to one of them, he made the comment, “Hurting people hurt people.” Sadly, I think this is very true. When we’re hurting, one of our natural responses is to lash out at those around us, those who love us, those who want the best for us, but without any good reason other than a desire to hurt them so that they too, in some bizarre way, can then share our pain. We all experience hurt at some time in our lives. Some people infrequently, but others, it seems, all the time. Some are suffering from physical or mental ailments, that blight and afflict almost beyond forbearance, and understandably they respond to others in a way that hurts. Others just wake up a bit grumpy in the morning – I remember those interactions in the office between someone on a high coming into contact with a grump, and the consequent fragility and frigidity of relationships until a relational equilibrium returned. And sometimes we hurt others unintentionally, a wrong word used, or a misunderstanding. Sometimes the hurt experienced by the recipient is quickly overturned and relationships are restored. At other times, the hurting and the hurt part company, never to meet again, and both end up the poorer from the experience.
My Bible notes took me to Romans 5 this morning, and the scripture, “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” At Calvary, Jesus suffered greatly from people intent on inflicting on Him one of the most horrific tortures ever devised by man. But rather than lashing out and hurting those around Him, which in human terms He was perfectly entitled to do, He showed His love and prayed, “Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.” When Jesus was hurting He refused to hurt others, instead choosing to bless them with His love, a love that even applies today, as the above Scripture says, while we were His enemies through our sin. At this time of year we sometimes sing the hymn, “When I survey the wondrous cross”. In fact, we sang it last Sunday. The last verse reads:-
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Yes, love so amazing. And it’s even more amazing that I can access that divine love anytime I need it. And if my humanity instead prevails, the door to the Cross is open. His love is still there.