Have you ever been punched in the heart? Not your literal, physical heart, but your more vulnerable internal one? You will know if you have, simply by gauging your emotional reaction to the term.
It is a blow that thuds into your emotions leaving you feeling sad, sickened, and despairing all at once. It’s a blow that is thrown by friends or close acquaintances–strangers can’t usually punch our internal heart (they don’t have access to our more vulnerable sides)–and it is devastating.
Hurts, misunderstandings, and unfair accusations can lead to poorly thought out words and phrases that slam into our hearts like sledgehammers. The blows leave us feeling bewildered and angry, confused and obsessed, and virtually unable to concentrate on extraneous things. We need help in those moments, because heart punches affect our perspective and confidence, and their effects can be very difficult to shake off and heal.
However it can be done. Healing can occur. Either the relationship will heal and grow stronger, or YOU will heal and grow stronger. That’s the fist step–simply acknowledging that a heart punch doesn’t have to be a fatal wound.
Poorly placed words can be retracted and repented of. Confusion can be clarified. Hurts can be expressed, owned, renounced, and repaired. Misunderstandings can give way to clarity, and the agony of the heart punch can eventually fade away.
It will help if you don’t immediately punch back. Our nature when hurt is to either withdraw or lash out. If you tend to withdraw, you risk nursing your wounds and dying of infection; conversely, if you tend to lash out, you risk inflicting damage that might not need to occur.
Although it is never easy to uncoil the complexities that sometimes lead to heart punches, we need to commit to trying. Remember, we have been called to a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Reconciliation is never easy, but it is always worth the efforts it requires. If we succeed in reconciling, we will have won a great victory and salvaged a friendship, and if we fail, we can at least move forward with a clean conscience before God and man. Let’s do our best to live and relate cleanly, even when things are difficult.
“I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man” (Acts 24:16).