As Christians, we are called to love others, just as Jesus loved us.
But what happens when someone continually hurts us, either physically or emotionally?
Often, our natural response is to seek revenge or cut off the relationship altogether.
But is this what God wants us to do?
Let’s what the Bible has to say about how we should respond to those who continually hurt us.
Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'”
When someone continually hurts us, it can be difficult to forgive them over and over again.
But the Bible is clear that forgiveness is not optional for Christians.
As we ask God for the strength to forgive, we release the weight of bitterness and anger that was weighing us down.
Romans 12:20-21 says, “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Although it may be the most difficult thing, choosing to love the person who continually hurts us can have a profound impact on them and on us.
We are called to love our enemies, even when it feels impossible.
Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
While forgiveness and love are essential, there are times when it may be necessary to confront the person about their behavior.
This must be done with the intention of restoring the relationship, rather than simply expressing our anger or trying to get revenge.
In Matthew 18:15, Jesus instructs us to confront someone who wrongs us in private.
If that doesn’t work, have someone mediate to reconcile the situation.
This approach helps the situation if it is an interpersonal matter that can be resolved.
Remember, we confront with the aim of restoration and not to get the upper hand or prove a point.
Proverbs 25:17 says, “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and they will hate you.”
Sometimes, setting boundaries is the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves and for the other person.
While we should always strive for forgiveness and love, we also need to protect our own mental and emotional health.
It is okay to set boundaries that protect us from ongoing hurtful behavior.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Finally, we must remember to pray.
Pray for the person who continually hurts us, praying for their well-being and for their heart to be softened.
Pray for our own strength and courage to continue loving and forgiving them. Prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in this battle.
When someone continually hurts us, it can be challenging to know what to do.
The Bible offers guidance that is both practical and life-giving.
We are called to forgive, love, confront, set boundaries, and pray.
Ultimately, we can trust that God will sustain us and give us the strength to do what is right and good.
Even in our pain, we can have hope that God is always at work, bringing about healing and restoration in our relationships.