Showing Respect To Those Who Have Broken Our Hearts
By Norma Miller
January 1, 2014
God has been working in my heart recently regarding relationships and respect. Did you know that we teach others how to treat us? Now, wait just a minute, before we take this the wrong way. We can all think of ways we'd love to teach others how to treat us, but those ways would not be beneficial at all. In fact, the results are actually contrary to what we think they will be. This little principle operates using the Golden Rule. If someone has treated me disrespectfully, my natural, human response might be to withdraw (or even to give them a little of their own medicine), because it doesn't feel very safe to be around someone like that.
There are times when withdrawing a bit is a good thing, and healthy boundaries are good, but if we are dealing with a believer, we should give them the same benefit of the doubt that we would want them to give us. I want others to believe the best of me and to see my heart. (I have a compassionate heart; I hate pain, and feel horrible if I have hurt someone. I love to encourage.). I need to be willing to give others room and believe that they probably did not intend to hurt me. If they did intend to hurt me, I need to realize that they probably did so because of hurt in their own hearts.
To give an example, recently I felt extremely disrespected and hurt by someone. I have always been one to work out issues and not run from a situation, but this time I wanted to run and never, ever come back, because it hurt so badly. My natural reaction was to treat them the way they treated me. When I considered this principle (we teach others how to treat us), I thought, "I'll teach you how it feels to be treated the way you treated me!"
At first I hurt so badly I had to keep to myself for a while to find some healing. I ran to the Lord. He knows us and approves of us, and only He can work out these situations. I found safety and security with Him and the knowledge that He is okay with me. As time passed I kept giving the situation to Him. He began to show me some things that brought me a tiny bit of healing.
He also spoke to me about teaching others how to treat me, and that in this situation I was to treat with respect those who had disrespected me.
I realize this is a no-brainer; after all, the Golden Rule says, "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." The truth of the matter is, however, that when we are hurting, it is not easy to think clearly, and it can be very, very difficult to do the right thing. I felt I had many reasons to treat those who had hurt me the same way they had treated me, but God made it clear to me that this would do the exact opposite of what I wanted it to. Chances are that someone might be smart enough to figure out how they treated me, but usually, we see things differently than others. We are right in our own eyes, and we are also blind to ourselves.
More likely than not, we would invite more of the same kind of behavior, which is not at all what we want. We ALL want to be treated with honor and respect. Treating those who dishonored and disrespected us with the honor and respect we desired can be very difficult and painful. But it actually can bring healing to your heart at the very moment you do it, and in the future, as God begins to bring healing to their heart and continued healing to your own. Yes, you heard me! Their hearts need healing as well. You see, the only way we ever get true justice is if the offender finds the healing and wholeness for which Jesus paid the price.
So, if we pray for those who have hurt us to find healing and to become whole, we will also find our own healing and justice. If this seems rather elementary to you, go back in your mind to a situation where you were badly hurt. In those times, God needs to break down obvious truth in ways that our broken hearts can receive. This is how He did it for me. Is my heart completely healed of this situation, and has it been resolved? Not by a long shot. But I am confident that it will be, because He who began a good work is faithful to complete it.
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