Hurt People Hurt People

I’ve been in ministry for long enough and I’ve been alive long enough to understand that when someone hurts another person it’s often because they themselves are hurting.

In a ministry context I have found time and time again when someone seeks to either consciously, or subconsciously, hurt you as the pastor, there is often something going on. The issues is often not the issue. What they are presenting as the problem is quite likely not the real problem.

Everybody is Hurting

Hurt people literally hurt people. Everybody is hurting. We’ve got these deep wounds inside of us. It is to your advantage as a pastor to understand that everyone is coming to your door with injuries. Sometimes the most painful experiences I have been on the receiving end of have come from deeply hurt people.

I can cut a lot of slack and give a lot of grace when I realize that an injured person inadvertently seeks to injure others. I don’t take it nearly as personally. Many years ago I learned a very valuable lesson that I wasn’t prepared for. Being a shepherd in the Kingdom of God, nobody told me that sometimes the sheep bite and it can hurt.

It can hurt to have a hurting, injured, emotionally pained sheep who, on the outside, looks to be perfect, but on the inside they are wounded. They see you as a quick opportunity to lash out and take shots at. This happens. It has happened to me and if it hasn’t happened to you it is only a matter of time.

Give Grace

Hurt people hurt people. I encourage you with all of my heart to give grace. Often it is a simple act of psychological displacement. When someone is walking through their living room and they’re upset about something completely different and they kick the dog, that is called displacement. The dog didn’t do anything wrong but their anger and frustration has been pent up long enough that somebody is going to be on the receiving end of that.

Hey listen, pastor, you are going to be on the receiving end of that. Hurt people hurt people. Jesus Christ said He came for the sick, not for the healthy. We are in emergency room care, we are in urgent care, and well meaning, polished looking people are often deeply, deeply injured. They often take that out on us. We are an easy target. While I don’t think this condones anyone’s behavior and I think that people ought to be held accountable for unbiblical, un-Christ-like behavior, I want to give you a free grace card to not take it as personally as you maybe have taken it before.

Hurt people hurt people. Controlling people are deeply wounded and scared. Yes, the sheep bite. My encouragement to you is to understand that hurting people are going to seek to hurt. Don’t take it personally.


Lead Ministry

By Josh Denhart. All Rights Reserved