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Hurt or Injured

Spiritual Training Cycle: Surrender (wk. 11/13)

I’ll never forget my sophomore year in High School. Growing up an overweight kid, it took about three years of athletics to chisel the fat off and reveal the real me inside. I had moved from the offensive line to quarterback at the beginning of High School, and I retained my starting position moving into my sophomore year. For those who don’t know, your second year of High School is when most players become part of the Junior Varsity team. And one of the responsibilities of playing JV is running scout team for Varsity. Every week, we would line up as the opposing team, running their plays and helping our team get prepared for Friday night. One crisp Fall afternoon, I found myself flat on my back wondering if those were clouds in the sky or permanent blurry vision. Two defensive linemen, best described as large buildings, collided in the backfield with me in the middle. As I lay there in pain, coach walked over and asked one question. “Steele, are you hurt or are you injured?”

Physically speaking, being hurt and getting injured are two different things. Hurts are things you work through, like bumps and bruises or jammed knuckles and turf burns. Injuries are different. When a shoulder pops or a muscle tears, it’s no longer something you just work through. What coach really wanted to know was whether I could still go or not. In all honesty, there’s not much that whacks your self-esteem like coach “moving the huddle over” so play can continue while the trainer evaluates you. But regardless of the difference, hurts and injuries both require the same thing – healing.

Spiritually, we’ve been both hurt and injured. We’ve been hurt by someone’s cutting remarks or by being left out of the group chat, only to scroll social media later and discover the fun everyone else had. We’ve also been injured. Some of us, including me, have been injured by a deep betrayal. Others of you have injuries from your childhood, or that boss who sacrificed your career for theirs. If left untreated, all of these have the capacity to create some wounds in your soul. But the good news is you have what it takes to recover. Forgiveness is the healing you need.

Forgiveness is good for the soul.

Forgiveness is so good for the soul. Just throw that quote on your feed and let the world hear it, because the world needs it. Forgiveness is choosing how to live with the painful consequences of another’s action. Forgiveness is not an emotion, it’s an action. When we choose to forgive, we give others what God gave us. Forgiveness is freedom. It’s the freedom to stop living life offended. Too many people are living offended lives. It seems like it takes less and less to offend someone, us included. If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you’re looking for. Even our past hurts and injuries can offend us. Just like forgiveness is an action, so is the output of forgiveness – mercy.

Mercy is not getting something you deserve. When people hurt us, what do we want? Justice. An eye for an eye if you know what I mean. And do they deserve it? Probably. But choosing to forgive means restraining our desire for justice. It doesn’t mean we have to let the same people hurt us again and again. Sometimes we need to create new boundaries to limit the exposure others have to us. What it does mean is that the battle is over. No more last word. No more I’ll show them one day. We are merciful because God is merciful to us. Find the quality life your soul craves – find forgiveness and let mercy reign in your life.

Questions for Reflection:

Who in your life most easily offends you? Who do you most easily offend?

Mercy is not getting something you deserve. Have you ever deserved something but received mercy instead?

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