Words like blows to the head

pain quoteIn Veronica Roth’s runaway hit novel Allegiant she writes: “It’s strange how a word, a phrase, a sentence, can feel like a blow to the head.”

She sure is right isn’t she? Painful words can hit us like sledgehammers, leaving us dazed, broken, and confused. We want to cry, defend, and lash out all at once, and when there is a seeming indifference in the offender, it’s even worse.  A spoken word can make us feel physically ill.

In those–and other–times of great pain and misunderstanding it is helpful to remember that pain can be an engraver’s tool that carves our life message a little more deeply into our soul.

When I feel mistreated, I vow to treat others well.

When I’m forced to carry the sting of rejection, I commit to never inflicting that sting.

As long as we don’t carry this too far and begin living our whole lives out of reactionary postures, this reflective vowing can serve us well. It can help us identify the kind of person we do and don’t want to be. It can remind us of the way we want others to feel in our presence, and it can bring our personal core values into a little sharper focus.

Mistreatment shines a spotlight on appropriate treatment, and it creates an opportunity for us to run toward that light.

Pain is inevitable, so let’s bear it cleanly, without letting it stain and soil our soul. Let’s take it to the cross of Jesus Christ and “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that (we) will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:3)

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