When someone does or says something that hurts you deeply, it's easy to burst into tears or want to strike back. The Apostle Peter reacted this way. Stung by the arrest of his beloved Master, Christ Jesus, Peter drew his sword and wounded one of those who had come to capture Jesus (see John 18:10 and Luke 22:50, 51). He had forgotten the Master's instruction to his followers: ''Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.'' n1
n1 Matthew 5:44.
Such was Jesus' love for all, that he healed the wounded man, letting the glory of his subsequent resurrection negate the cruelty of his capture and heal the sorrow of his disciples.
Reacting in sorrow or anger to another's unkindness doesn't really heal the hurt, as a friend of mine learned. One day, out of the blue, she received an unpleasant telephone call. The accusations made by the caller were especially hurtful, since he was someone she loved and respected. The fact that the remarks were false didn't make them less painful. Tears of self-pity streamed down her cheeks.
After the initial shock of a broken friendship, she began to realize that the situation couldn't be left there. Healing had to come about, for both of them. But how?
During the next few days my friend tried various human ways to heal the rift. Finally, when nothing else worked, she turned to God and with her whole heart prayed to be shown what to do. The thought came, First you have to forgive him. If you still feel hurt because of what he said and did, then you haven't forgiven. Along with this came a great sense of peace and the conviction that God could bring about a reconciliation.
At first she thought, Yes, that's right - God can change his whole attitude. Instead of being coldhearted he can be kind, and when he's kind that will ease the pain of being hurt. But then she thought of the words of a hymn, which assure us of the Christ's healing presence: ''He comes to bless thee on his wings of healing;/To banish pain, and wipe all tears away.'' n2
n2 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 202.
We don't have to wait for another person to act favorably. Through our understanding of the Christ, God's message of love and care for us, our pain is banished and the hurt dissolves. If we're thinking a person can wipe away our tears and heal the hurt, we're believing that a person can cause the hurt. We have to discern each one's true selfhood as the manifestation of God, divine Love. We have to correct our sense of man as a hurtful, unkind mortal with an understanding of what God has actually created: man in His image. This is true forgiveness.
Four days later, these two people met unexpectedly, and the one who had inflicted the hurt was loving and warm. Unkindness and selfishness had never been his true nature.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, ''We must love our enemies in all the manifestations wherein and whereby we love our friends; must even try not to expose their faults, but to do them good whenever opportunity occurs.'' n3
n3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 11.
When a friend or relative acts unkindly or unfairly, it's almost as though someone has taken an ugly mask and imposed it on the face of someone we love. The carnal mind, or evil, would try to impose on the nature of man its own unlovely characteristics. But in the understanding of God's goodness and allness , evil is seen to be unreal, powerless. Our clear spiritual perception - our vision of Love's supremacy and of man as the expression of Love - dissolves the mask of unkindness.
If someone has hurt you, be compassionate, for it is as though he is temporarily blind, not only to his own but to your true nature as God's child. When you realize this, any resentment or anger will fade.
It's so easy to say ''I love you'' to a friend when things are going well. But the highest kind of love is to love that one no matter what qualities, or lack of them, he seems to be expressing. To see your friend with clear spiritual vision as loving and good, even when hatred or resentment are being expressed, is the love that heals the hurt. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21