Select Page

I always thought the saying, “hurt people, hurt people,” was so on point. The fact of the matter is that it’s hurt people, hurt themselves. Don’t get me wrong; hurt people still hurt other people. Yet, honestly, that is a byproduct of hurt people hurting themselves.

It all comes back to pain. Numbing ourselves, hurting ourselves, hurting others; it’s all about the hurt. At the end of the day, we try to cope with that hurt and that pain. A person who reads their Bible and exercises and eats healthy is no different from the person who drinks until they blackout or looks at porn. It’s all about dealing with the pain. But for some reason, the former judge the latter. In other words, we judge people who self-medicate using alcohol, drugs, gambling, overeating, or sex. And instead of seeing them as hurt people, we see them as evil people who want to sin just for the sake of sinning. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24). 

Please understand me; I am not trying to give a free pass or saying it’s okay for us to do those things. Instead, I want us to grow to understand why. I want us to learn to give grace; to others and ourselves!

There’s a reason why we engage in unhealthy coping strategies. It’s not rocket science either. Unhealthy coping strategies tend to feel good in the moment of pain or negative feelings and emotions. The catch is they have long-term negative results. On the flip side, healthy coping strategies may not provide instant relief, but they lead to long-lasting positive outcomes. But this is the crux of the issue.

Our culture has taught us that experiencing negative things are so bad that we should do whatever to avoid feeling those things no matter what the cost. We’ve learned that being emotional is being dramatic. We’ve learned that the thing God created in us, emotions, should be suppressed and shoved down, and the quicker, the better. And this, my friend, is the result. Addiction and endless cycles of looking in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways of finding comfort and peace. All because we’ve learned that allowing ourselves to feel anger, fear, hurt, loneliness, sadness, guilt, and shame is something to be avoided. So what do we expect when people are hurt? What do we expect when people are traumatized or suffering; when we combine our inability to give space to negative emotions and the fact that they exist! What do we expect when we want a quick fix? 

Chip Dodd says in his book The Voice of the Heart, “we drink excessively. We look to medicine to avoid emotional problems. We seek status, power, and achievement. We use religion and ego-centered spirituality as a drug. We pray for God to stay away so that we can hide from the truth. We furiously erect walls around our hearts. We actively pursue behaviors that we think will silence our hearts without listening to our hearts’ calls for satisfaction. We leave our hearts unexplored, and they become damaged by the very things we do to satisfy them.” So what’s the solution? “We discover answers that show us that life is about living fully. We learn that life is not simply about being happy or satiated. It’s about living fully in an intimate relationship with ourselves, with others, and with God, which is a joy unto itself (even in pain).”

We deal with stress, problems, or uncomfortable feelings consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, healthily or unhealthily. We all numb emotional responses, in one way or another. We are all hurt in one way or another. It is up to us to break the cycle. Yes, break the cycle! Break the cycle of addiction! Break the cycle of falling into the trap society has, leading to more pain and anguish. It is time we break the cycle and “depart from evil and do good” to go to God to “seek peace and pursue it” in Him (Ps. 34:14).