What to Do When Other Christians Hurt You—8 Responses

When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary on His first visit to Bethany, Mary could have chosen to be offended by her sister. But there is no indication that she felt that way. She also could have taken offense when Judas and the disciples protested against her act of extravagant worship. But again, there is no indication that she did.

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the pain that was inflicted upon Mary in both situations. Here was a woman who loved her Lord with all her heart, and she was unfairly criticized for it. Not by her enemies, but once by her sister and another time by some of the Lord’s own disciples.

It reminds me of the old adage, “No good deed shall go unpunished.”

The words of Elbert Hubbard come to mind: “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”

In both cases, Mary never opened her mouth to defend herself or her actions. In silence, she entrusted the matter to her Lord. And in both instances, Jesus rose to her defense.

Point: There will always be some Christians who will undermine and denigrate your good actions.

T. Austin-Sparks once wrote, “If you get upset, offended, and go off and sulk, and nurse your grievance, you will die.”

With that in mind, here are eight things I’ve learned about being offended by others:

(1) Christians will hurt your feelings.

Because of the fall, this will happen. Sometimes a person acts with malicious intent, desiring to hurt you because they don’t like you or they’ve chosen to be offended by you. Other times they will hurt you without realizing it.

I’m sure that when the other disciples chimed in with Judas’ complaint, they weren’t trying to hurt Mary. It was just the result of fleshly judgment.

(2) When others hurt you, your spiritual maturity will be revealed.

You will discover how real your relationship with Jesus Christ is when your feelings get hurt. You can be the greatest speaker, the greatest worshipper, or the greatest evangelist, but when your feelings are hurt, what you do at that moment and afterward will reveal the reality of your relationship with Jesus.

People have one of two reactions when their feelings get hurt: They deal with it before the Lord, or they destroy others.

Mary left it in the hands of Christ.

(3) God intends to use mistreatments for our good.

Recall the mistreatment that Joseph endured at the hands of his own brothers. Joseph took it from the hand of God, saying, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

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Frank Viola
FRANK VIOLA has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply, gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and make the Bible come alive. Viola has written many books on these themes, including God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here. His blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today.

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