Hurting People – The Heart Of The Matter – Part 4 - Pocket Fuel on Matthew 5:45

For then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. Matthew 5:45 (MSG)

Hurting People – The Heart Of The Matter – Part 4

Go to PART 1  |  PART 2  |  PART 3  |  PART 4  |  PART 5  |  PART 6  |  PART 7

My Psychologist used to say to me, almost every session:

Hurting people hurt people.”

And I really do think that at the heart of it, it’s that simple. When I examine my own heart and actions, it’s when I’m afraid, stressed, anxious, ashamed, threatened, hurt (and sometimes I'm just hungry) that I lash out the most at others – be it those I love most; a group of people I don’t understand who are a great outlet for my rage; or just random citizens (road rage anyone?).

When my heart is compromised, my “living,” is too.

This is why forgiveness is so radical; it changes everything. The sermon Jesus Delivered on the Mount of Olives – whom some scholars believe happened the week before he was betrayed by his own and executed by the Romans – is such a game changer in every way.

Love your enemies.
Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer.
For then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.
Matt 5:44-45 (MSG).

We love to quote it and smile whimsically about it, but rarely do we understand that that sermon, those words Jesus put out into the atmosphere, they were so subversive and contrary and counterculture… its no wonder they killed him.

In his speech, “Love your enemies,” Martin Luther Kind said:

The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies.

And it starts with you. With me. At home in our own hearts.

If hurting people hurt people, how can we heal the hurt within and without?

You are forgiven.
Forgive yourself.
Love the enemy that you have become to yourself.

Martin Luther King went on to say:

We must recognise that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbour, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all our lives. Something within us causes us to lament with Ovid, the Latin Poet, “I see and approve the better things, but follow worse.” Or to agree with Plato that human personality is like a charioteer having two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in a different direction. Or to repeat the Apostle Paul, “The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

This simply means that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbour a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God’s image is ineffably etched into his being.”

It starts in me and you.

When my heart is compromised, my “living” is too. Click to Tweet

Behind every action is a story – our wounds and that of others. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour, not one bit. It doesn’t make an evil or hurtful act OK or admissible. Not one bit. But it does shine a light on the path to healing. We’ll never eradicate evil from the world by battling it with more evil.

Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Martin Luther King.

Go to Part 5 – A Homecoming »

Written by Lizzy Milani

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