In a recent interview promoting his new album, country music icon, Vince Gill, said one of the songs he wrote is about his wife. He also said, “Amy always says certain things that I just adore. One is, “Blessed people, bless people, and hurt people, hurt people.” That pretty much sums up the human race and how we respond to people, and even God. We can bless and praise people, or we can take out our pain on them.
Some folks don’t know what to do with their legitimate hurt. At the back of my current 53rd journal, under prayer requests, I listed, “Survivors from the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.” A reminder to myself to pray for them. How do you pray for those who have experienced the unthinkable? All I know to pray for those who’ve experienced great loss is the following: “God, please use their dark circumstances to lead them to the awareness of Your presence, that You are real, that You felt pain when your only Son was murdered. Bring them to Yourself, even through their depressing situation.”
In his typical, edgy style, Philip Yancey said, “It’s God who ought to suffer, not you and me,” say those who bear a grudge against God for the unfairness of life. The curse word expresses it well: God be damned. And on that day, God was damned. The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the Cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love.” (Disappointment with God)
It’s easier to curse during tragedy, than it is to praise. When Job (pronounced Jobe) was in the throes of his suffering, with boils over every inch of his body, while grieving the deaths of every last one of his 10 children, and losing his wealth, his wife, matter of factly told him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9, NLT) Thankfully, Job didn’t do that.
Some folks have never made faith their own. Their pain feels greater than their faith. They have never crossed that line. They depend on others to “see” their faith through. From the late Brennan Manning:
“How could Jesus’ departure profit the apostles? Because while He was still visible on earth, there was the danger they would be too wedded to the sight of His flesh, that they would leave the certainty of faith and lean upon the tangible evidence of the senses. To see Jesus in the flesh was good but “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
If someone lashes out at you for no reason, stand back. Don’t retaliate their hurt with more hurt. Bless them by praying silently for them. You could be the one who helps them believe because of your gracious response.