Navigating Hurt, Healing, & Healthy Boundaries
Have you ever been hurt badly?
Have you ever wanted to just lock yourself up in your room for… well ever, to avoid being hurt again?
The Bible calls us to love unconditionally, turn the other cheek, and be living examples for Christ, so what are you supposed to do when someone does something unthinkable to hurt you? Is it okay to cut someone out of your life, in order to protect yourself?
Dealing with hurt, healing, and healthy boundaries can be tricky and finding the way to work through forgiveness, but still protect yourself from being hurt again, can be even more tricky.
Girls, I know that some of you have been hurt in ways I can’t imagine and I’m not here to tell you that forgiveness is going to be easy, but I am here to tell you that it’s possible to forgive and that setting boundaries to protect yourself is healthy.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with working through all of the above – hurting, healing, and setting healthy boundaries. Through this I’ve found a few steps that have helped me to find the way to forgiveness and set healthy boundaries for the future and I wanted to share these with you!
I know at times this is an impossible thought. How can you forgive someone who has wronged you so much, but we have to remember how Christ has forgiven us.
Christ literally died a painful death on a cross to forgive us for all of our sins and yet daily we still sin against Him. Psalm 103:10 says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities”, meaning God doesn’t punish us, turn away from us, or hold grudges against us.
He actually gives us less negative consequences than we deserve when we do sin. Then in Matthew 18:21-22 when Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone Jesus says no not seven times but seven times seventy.
Of course this phrase is not meaning to keep count until 490 times and then stop forgiving, but instead Jesus is telling Peter we need to forgive time and again. So ask yourself if you’ve actually really forgiven the person who hurt you. If you haven’t, I challenge you to make an effort every single day to pray for your heart to come one step closer to forgiveness until you are able to fully forgive. I know it’s hard and I know it’s not what you want to do and I know that it may take some time – but I challenge you to do this not because I want you to forgive but because God tells us to forgive, even when it’s hard.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Pray for the person who hurt you. Whether you pray for their salvation or their faith, pray that they will change and recognize and ask God to forgive their sin against you. I know the last thing you want to do is pray for someone that you dislike (trust me I’ve found myself cringing while praying at times) but God calls us to pray, and says that He will avenge sinners. It’s not our job to get back at others.
Every one of us is responsible and accountable for ourselves to God. If someone has done something wrong and they have hurt you, don’t try to hurt them back to get back. God is the judge over all, He sees all, He knows all, and He is fair and just in all. When you’re hurt the best way to heal and move past that hurt is to give it up to God. Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
As Christians, we are instructed to separate ourselves from the ways and people of the world in places like 2 Corinthians 6:14 and James 4:4. This doesn’t mean that we ignore people who aren’t rightly following God, snub them, or never speak with them, because after all we all have sin in our lives and who are we to judge.
This does mean though that we are not investing in relationships with people who have made a habit of living in ways that go against God as our foundational relationships. If someone is living against God, they are not going to be living in a way that honors God or shows the love and kindness of God, and ultimately – they will hurt you. It may be hard to do, but sometimes it is necessary to set up boundaries for yourself with this type of person, to protect yourself from hurt.
If you have been hurt by someone I’m not saying you should hold it against them but also don’t go running back vulnerably to them. You can show kindness and love to someone without giving away your heart to them. If someone has hurt you, safeguard your heart and give it to Jesus instead. Allow time and Jesus to step in to heal and over time to show proof of whether that person recognizes their wrong and is apologetic for it, or if they are living in a pattern that will result in continual hurt to you.
If someone has hurt you in the past, you do not need to plan to meet with them, speak with them, or spend time with them immediately again. If you do happen to see this person or hear from them, as hard as it may be, you should speak with them in love and kindness. Matthew 5:43-48 instructs us on loving our enemies and doing good to all, and this includes people who have hurt you in the past. Now, that said, do you need to go out of your way to approach that person and strike up conversation? No. But if by some chance you end up in a situation face to face with this person, speak the love of Christ to them, not the hurt of the past.
Pray over your decisions throughout healing and setting boundaries.
There is no exact formula to setting boundaries because each relationship and situation is different but the truth we can always count on and invest in is Jesus.
Ultimately, what I’ve been learning is this:
It is okay to take time to heal.
It is okay to take time to forgive.
It is okay to protect your heart.
But remembering that the best Healer, Forgiver, Protector, and Friend we have is Jesus and that He is the one who is going to help through hurt and guide future paths – that’s where we can find true healing and hope.
Jesus can and will help us forgive. Jesus can and will help us through our hurt. Jesus can and will help us protect our hearts. Jesus can and will show us when and how to navigate a relationship that has caused us hurt. Jesus can and will – if we let Him.