How To Cope With Enemies & Hurt Feelings
by David J. Stewart
"O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver." -Psalm 7:1,2
David, before becoming king over Israel, had grown up as a shepherd boy. While protecting his flock of sheep, David actually fought and killed a lion, and on another occasion, a bear. As a young man, David single-handedly fought the Philistine giant, Goliath, and slew him. David grew up to become a mighty warrior, and led Israel's armies into many victorious battles. Yet, in Psalm 7:1,2 we find David crying out to God, because of those who were persecuting his soul, rending it in pieces (i.e., making him miserable). Even a mighty warrior like David, wasn't able to thwart the slander, gossip, lies, rumors, and cruelty of his enemies.
Psalm 55:3-6, “Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.”
People can be so cruel.
Although David courageously confronted and fought a ferocious lion, a bear and the giant Goliath; he was overwhelmed by the malicious attacks of his enemies. Someone once said that they do not envy a lion tamer... because at least the lion tamer is safe from people while being in a cage with the lion. Psalm 55:5, “Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.”
I'll share with you something that happened to me. Some time ago I underwent stomach surgery, to repair a hernia. I needed to go to a pharmacy afterwards to get some pain medication. The nurse had called ahead, to make sure that the medicine was ready when I arrived. When I got to the Kmart Pharmacy to pick up the medicine, the man working at the pick-up window was cruel. He said, "Get to the back of the line and wait like everybody else."
I lifted my shirt and showed him the bandages where I had just been cut open from surgery. I told him I was still under the effects of anesthesia, and didn't feel well. He couldn't have cared less, and said, "These people have been waiting too, get in line." There were about 20 people in line, and I hadn't even been out of surgery for 2-hours.
Some of the people waiting in line were laughing at me, telling me that I should have to wait just like them, even though I showed them all my surgery dressings. Those people were heartless! This is America today, where people only care about themselves... Me, Myself, and I. This is sinful. Although I was angry and hurt at the time, the next day I realized that I needed to place the incident into God's hands, and let it go. This is very difficult for most people to do, including myself, but it becomes easier as you get into the habit of placing things into God's hands. Listen to the wonderful Words found in the Bible...
"Be careful [anxiety, stress] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6,7
God asks us to place our miseries into His hands, and make our requests "known" unto Him. Of course, God already KNOWS what you need, "...for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him" (Matthew 6:8). If we are miserable, we need to take those thoughts and feelings to our precious God in Heaven, and lay them at His feet...
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." -Hebrews 4:15,16
What a Savior! Jesus knows what it's like to be mistreated, lied about, betrayed, and abused. Listen to the heartfelt words of King David once again...
"In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." -Psalm 56:4
"In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." -Psalm 56:11
Bitterness only kills the person who harbors it. There's probably never been a man more bitter than Esau. Jacob had deceitfully swindled Esau out of his birthright and inheritance. Jacob fled for his life, for Esau would have killed him. For 20 years Esau harbored murderous hatred for Jacob, and it is certainly reasonable to understand why. Let this be an example to us of what NOT to do. Esau was not a Christian, and didn't take things to the Lord. Esau was a heathen. God didn't hate Esau, He hated everything about Esau (Romans 9:13). Esau is burning in the flames of Hell today, by his own choice. 2nd Peter 3:9 plainly states that God is NOT willing for the vilest sinner to perish into Hell.
We choose our final destiny. I recently heard a Catholic priest say that he doesn't know who goes to Hell. Well 2nd Thessalonians 1:8,9 tells us... "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Have you obeyed the Gospel? It's as simple as that folks.
I once heard a powerful illustration--If you get bitten by a poisonous snake, you can do one of 2 things: 1) Hunt the snake down to kill it, while the venom is also killing you; or 2) Tend to your wounds, let the snake go, and live. We need to learn to let the snakes go, and trust upon the Lord. Time truly heals all wounds. I know this is true from my own personal experiences, for I have often been deeply hurt by people. I have even been cheated and lied to by pastors. Think about this my friend... in 100 years none of this present world will matter.
What will it matter 100 years from now (or 10,000 years from now) what hurt feelings we experience today? Where will our enemies be 100 years from today? What are they doing for God now, to reach lost souls with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The best remedy for hurt feelings is to go soulwinning. When people try to ruin my day, I grab a handful of Gospel tracts and start distributing them. I have distributed tens-of-thousands of Gospel tracts over the years to rid my heart of hurt feelings.
Every time the Devil messes with me, I grab those Gospel tracts. Of course, I give out Gospel tracts all the time anyway, but I do it more aggressively at the times when people get me down. Romans 12:21 says, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Rather than become discouraged because of people, I overcome those sad thoughts by going soulwinning.
One of My Favorite Verses in the Bible
One of My favorite verses in the Bible is John 16:22...
"And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." —John 16:22
People often ruin our day, hurt our feelings, and cause us to have painful memories. This is because humanity is inherently sinful, selfish, and carnally-minded. Jesus promised in John 16:22 that when He returns, NO MAN will ever rob us of our joy again. Amen! What a wonderful thought. People can be so selfish and cruel with their words. As believers, we are supposed to be tender-hearted and kind (Ephesians 4:32).
In sharp contrast, the word is cold-hearted. A tender-hearted person does NOT mix well with cold-hearted people. Thus, caring Christians all across the world are persecuted, and have their hearts torn, just as David did in Psalm 7:1,2. Jesus promised in John 16:22 that the day is coming, when He returns, when people won't hurt us anymore!
Oh! How often people succeed at robbing us of our joy in the Lord. This is what Jesus said in John 16:22... "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." It is people who curse us, abuse us, accuse us, laugh at us, slander us, cheat us, embarrass us, mistreat us, ignore us, and hurt our feelings. This is the sin-nature at work.
Jesus is precious! Our Lord said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but BE OF GOOD CHEER; I have overcome the world.” Amen! Jesus overcame this sin-cursed world, and victoriously went to the cross to pay our sin debt. Jesus is Risen and seated on the right-hand of the Father in Heaven (Colossians 3:1). 2nd Corinthians 8:9 says that Jesus gave up His riches in Heaven, to live in poverty here on earth; so that we could be made rich through Christ's righteousness. What a wonderful Savior!
We must learn to take our burdens to the Lord Jesus in prayer, and rest upon His wonderful Promises...
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." —Proverb 3:5-7