Hurt people hurt people

Hurt people hurt people

I have known for years that hurt people hurt people. This thinking was reinforced when I served on the staff of the largest church in the state of Georgia for more than 20 years, and in our vast congregation of over 9,000 people from all over the area, we saw true-to-life examples of the pain inflicted on others by those who had been hurt years ago. Later, while working in an international ministry and traveling all over America and in some foreign countries, we saw even more evidence of the same truth. It is sad that wounds and hurt are perpetuated onto others out of hearts that, in some cases, really want to be well and whole.

Writing in the past about “building boys rather than mending men” brought these truths to my heart and mind again and again. It is also true for young women that turn into older ladies. Many harbor such deep wounds that lifetimes are spent in agony, shame and unbelievable pain. This philosophy has come to my attention once again, and I have seen it demonstrated in thoughts, actions, accusations, denial and plain old meanness. God could heal all of the hearts involved if only those who’d been hurt would allow that to happen and seek His leadership and follow the outline clearly given in Scripture for happy living.

As it is, these adults, who act much more like children, go on through life making others unhappy and sad. It finally gets to the point that for the sake of sanity and often safety, ties have to be broken and lives lived separately to find any sense of peace. Pride and a sense of self importance often blinds the actors to the point of stupidity, and everyone can clearly see it except for them. If not so serious, it would be a laughing matter.

Countless scholars have proved over and over that those who have been emotionally damaged tend to inflict their own hurt and pain on others. For example, a large percentage of those who have been sexually abused became abusers, and those who suffered alcoholic parents often harm those closest to them in their own drunken stupors. We are perhaps more familiar with this kind of behavior because we see it on the news or hear about it from friends or family members.

Sadly many churches, staff members, physicians, and those who love these folks dearly have no idea of how to really help them. Because of that love, good people often give in to the actor to keep from hurting his feelings or to keep him from running away yet again or isolating himself from their company. One stepparent said of her stepson, “We all know how Larry is. Every time he is around us, we all walk on eggshells to keep from making him mad or setting him off again.” That, folks, is a sad way to live, and one that is not acceptable to God, I am sure. He wants His children to be happy and fulfilled in this life.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 is an interesting verse to study. In fact, both books of Thessalonians make for interesting and information study: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The word “whole” arrested my attention. A very wounded person is not whole, and he cannot pursue anything wholly unless it is to hurt others and place blame on them for the miserable way he feels and lives. He cannot accept responsibility for his actions, lack of action, thinking or belief system; therefore, he must blame others and cause pain and anguish.

This hurt person must give their inner anger and rage to someone else to be able to face the next day — or hour, in some cases. Often those around them feel the brunt of their harsh tones, fits of rage and unacceptable behavior, and soon they become the recipients or punching bags of this transferred rage. 

In talking with a lovely young lady this week, I heard her tell of how her partner in life sees everything through his own eyes filled with pain. She said that ordinary, simple words are misinterpreted to mean something bad and negative toward the hurting individual. He sees himself as all-important and the center of everything around him. In reality, most people do not care about the individual, or they have been battered so terribly that they don’t think of him at all, unless his actions force them to do so. “Most of his actions are defensive, if only to him, and often are directed at people that would do him no harm,” she said through tears.

Think about this. Do we know someone that has been terribly hurt and now terribly hurts others? We will deal with this again in another column.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.