Have you ever noticed that when someone close to you has hurt you and you think about what they said or did, you become even more angry? It’s like you’re reliving in your mind what they said or did and you feel the pain all over again…
I was reading my devotional, Jesus Lives by Sarah Young, this morning and it discussed living at peace with everyone. There was one thing Sarah Young said in this morning’s devotional that really ministered to me.
“To live at peace with everyone, you need to control not only what you say and do but also what you think…When you indulge in negative thinking about someone, your relationship with that person is damaged.”
I have always known that our thoughts influence us and various aspects of our lives tremendously, but I have never thought about it in terms of how it impacts our relationships. Philippians 4:8 tells us “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Whenever I have applied this verse to my life, I have always thought of it when it comes to things such as, not thinking lustful thoughts or not doubting God when trusting Him for something. I have never thought about thinking “lovely” thoughts towards someone who made me mad. Of course I knew that I had to eventually forgive that person and move forward from that situation, but to think good thoughts towards that person after they hurt or offended me…that never crossed my mind. It never occurred to me that the more I thought about how I was wronged by that person, the more angry I became with them and the more that hurt grew in my heart.
2 Corinthians 10:5, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
This scripture is telling us to throw away and get rid of any and everything that contradicts God and to take hold of each and every thought and align those thoughts with God’s living Word, who is Christ. In Mark 12:31 Jesus gave us a new commandment, which is to love our neighbor as ourselves. In a sense, one aspect of loving others is thinking good thoughts towards them…even those who have hurt us. Even deeper than that is the fact that if we are truly going to align our thoughts with God’s Word, we have to think loving and kind thoughts towards everyone, especially those who are not so lovable because they have hurt us.
Thinking positive and kind thoughts towards those that have mistreated us is not just for the other person, but it’s for us too. Our thoughts can influence our emotions and attitude for better or worse. Proverbs 15:13 says that “A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.” What we think influences our mood. So if we are thinking negatively about someone and what they did to us, we are not likely to be kind towards them. More than that, our attitude will suck all together, can cause division in other relationships, and cause us to not be so pleasant when interacting with others in general. We will have a stank attitude and act ugly towards everyone we encounter just because of some negative thoughts about one person. I can say that I have truly experienced this myself. Because I focused on how the person wronged me, I was very short with them, I was not in a good mood whenever I had to talk to them, and I felt so much anger towards them. That anger continued to grow the more I thought about the pain they caused me. This anger then seeped into my other relationships, stole my joy and peace, and made me a miserable person to be around.
Instead of letting those negative thoughts towards someone continue, you should bring the situation before God. One of the most amazing things about God is that you can pour Your heart out to Him and He will not think differently of you afterwards. I mean you can be brutally honest with God about how you feel about that person who hurt you and He will love you just the same afterwards. In Psalms, David provides many examples of this. He poured out his heart to God. He told God how various people hurt him, how much anger he had towards them, and at times he asked God to strike them down. Despite all this, God called David a man after His own heart. When we pour out our hearts to God, He hears our cries and He alone turns the situation around. God is the only one that can show the person who hurt you what they did wrong and can soften their hearts towards you. Also, you can always confront the person who wronged you. A lot of times people don’t even realize that they have offended you, but if you bring it to their attention, you can make amends. Matthew 18:15, “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” Don’t be afraid to go to that person and tell them how what they did hurt you, but make sure you pray about what to say and say it in a loving way. So instead of waiting for the person who hurt you to come to you to make things right, be the bigger person and go to them. But make sure that you aren’t thinking negatively about them because that will influence how you interact with the person.
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