Horatio Spafford was a successful lawyer, father and husband until misfortune struck. His 2 year old son died, his property was damaged in the Great Chicago Fire and his four daughters died when the ship they were aboard sunk. After receiving the news of his daughter’s deaths, Spafford travelled to meet his grieving wife across the Atlantic. While passing where his daughters had died, he wrote the famous lyrics to the song: It is well with my soul.

He and his wife later on had three more children, but only two survived.

Hurt is inevitable. As long as you are alive, you will be hurt deeply and you will equally hurt others. Because we live in a fallen and depraved world, we shall experience hurts from our own mistakes, other’s mistakes and the effects of sin in the natural world around us. Careless words will be spoken, evil deeds will be done, leaving you emotionally wounded and sometimes unable to function normally.

More often than not, deep wounds are inflicted on us in our formative years in the home and school setting. The family is where we form our identity as children. It is where important questions about self and purpose are answered. Deep wounds can occur when we feel misunderstood, ignored, or rejected.

whohurtyou_q2As a result, we carry these hurts into adulthood unaware of the power they wield on how we relate and act. For example, if one has been bullied in their family of origin, this individual may go through life as a victim or take on the role of a bully. Despite our circumstances, our Heavenly Father desires to heal and strengthen us, so that we can offer hope and comfort to others {2nd Corinthians 1:3-4}. In this season, I believe that Heaven has sent an invitation of healing for all those whose hearts are broken, those who have been sidelined, overlooked, and rejected.

whohurtyou_q1But how do we partner with God in receiving our healing?

1. Forgive

Forgiveness is key if we are to receive healing from God. When we hold on to offense, it is easy for Satan to inflict further wounds on us {Matthew 18:21-35}. An unforgiving heart is prime ground for bitterness which not only destroys us, but those around us. Bitterness is like a cancer, it subtly infects every area of your life- spiritual, emotional and even physical, damaging an individual.

whohurtyou_q3God has provided a way out- forgiveness.

Forgiveness is impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. The feelings of bitterness may keep coming up and the sting of the hurt may be fresh in your mind. As we submit these negative feelings to Him as regularly as they come up, He provides us with the grace to overcome.

With every slight, forgive. Forgive and move on. Do not let unforgiveness fester.

Three people that we must commit to forgive are: Ourselves, God, and those we interact with.

When we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves, we shall fail. It is important to understand that being human guarantees that we shall make many mistakes. Being gracious when we do fail, and learning to forgive ourselves releases us to receive healing from God. Secondly, we may feel that God has failed us in certain situations. Whether we admit it or not, we can harbor feelings of bitterness and hatred towards Him. We don’t “forgive” God because He is at fault. Forgiving God means that we refuse to blame Him for our perceived unmet expectations.

Lastly, if we do not forgive those who hurt us, how can we expect to receive mercy from others when we hurt them, or from God when we sin? {Mark 11:25, Matthew 6:14-15}

2. Release and bless

In surrendering our hurts and wounds to the Lord, He promises to carry our pain {1st Peter 5:7}. Releasing those who offend you means that you give them over to the One who can judge the intentions and attitudes of the hearts of people rightly. When we refuse to release our offenders, we are essentially putting ourselves in the position of judge and jury {Matthew 7:1-5, Romans 14:4, Proverbs 21:2, Luke 6:37}.

whohurtyou_q4Releasing and blessing those who have hurt us gives room for God to work in their hearts and ours, at His time.

3. Pray for

Pray for your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Pray for those who disregard and reject you {Matthew 5:43-48}. This may sound like a tall order and it certainly is without the help of the Holy Spirit. One practice I have found to be helpful when I struggle with the sting of wounds, is to pray concerning the issue each time I think of the offense or offender, until the negative feelings lift.

It is important to note that while we are praying for those who have hurt us, we must go to the Lord with a heart that is ready to be changed. It could be that while praying, we realize that we may have contributed in one way or another to the breakdown of peace in that relationship. Therefore, pray for your heart too, and ask the Lord to show you what areas you can change.

whohurtyou_q5Whoever hurt you, whatever was said about you, whatever wounds were inflicted on you as a child, whether by the actions of others or just because we live in a sinful world, it is time to let go. It may not be an easy process, but it is worth it. And just like Horatio Spafford who was wounded deeply, but cried: it is well with my soul in surrender, I would like to encourage you to cry out to your Heavenly Father and accept this wonderful invitation to healing by forgiving, releasing and praying for those who have hurt you.