Have you ever found yourself in a relationship that seemed to pack more pain than pleasure?
Your conflict may be with an adult child who lives a troubling lifestyle. A longtime friendship may be dying, or a newer relationship may have turned sour. Perhaps you’re dealing with a parent or a spouse who won’t value or respect you. You may have a boss or coworker who keeps knocking you down.
The stress and uncertainty of such a connection can become a sore spot that won’t be healed and won’t go away. Eventually it wears us down, and at that point of exhaustion and discouragement, we become vulnerable to temptation. Love and patience come harder as we fall too easily into defensive, even hostile attitudes.
When we don’t know how to deal constructively with our hurt or with the person who continues to hurt us, we may feel we’ve run out of options. Pain speaks in a loud voice, and our damaged feelings rather than our Christian values dictate our behavior.
At such times, it becomes deceptively easy to slip rails and start heading down a wrong track, away from God and the very resources we need to see us through our difficulty.
Help for the Hurting
People and relationships are complex, so there is no easy answer to the dilemma of a hurtful relationship. However, God offers eight promises that can help you stay on the right track and remain true to your faith.
God is a faithful presence in your life. You are never alone and without help.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deut 31:8 NIV)
God understands your suffering. He grieves over your pain and longs to comfort and help you.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Heb 4:15 NIV)
God’s wisdom will lead you down the right track. Reading the Bible regularly puts God’s perspective into your mind so that you needn’t depend on your own wisdom.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Prov 3:5-6 NLT)
God will forgive your sins and foolish choices. No matter how far off the track this relationship has taken you, God will always provide a way back.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV)
God is sovereign and the ultimate judge. God is in control and will bring justice in his own timing.
You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. (Jer 32:18-19 NLT)
God will not allow this suffering to defeat you. No matter how difficult the situation, God will somehow use it to benefit you and possibly the other person.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28 NIV)
God will shelter you if you ask him. When you turn to God in love and obedience, he will protect and comfort you.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” (Ps 91:14-15 NIV)
God will heal your hurt. It may take time, but if you trust in God’s tender concern for you, he will mend your brokenness.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Ps 147:3 NIV)
God doesn’t promise us a life free from suffering. But if we put our trust in him, he does promise to show us how to find peace and joy, even in the midst of a hurtful relationship.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30: 21 NIV)
How can a hurtful relationship tempt you down the wrong track?