Have you ever unintentionally brought pain to someone that you love and would never want to hurt? I don’t mean a spouse but a close friend or a family member?
I am not referring to times when we get upset in our relationships and we say things we don’t mean. I am referring to an action or inaction that hurts the heart of another that we are oblivious to until it is brought to our attention.
There are two specific incidents that played out in my own life a few years ago that come to mind. I was brought to my knees when I realized the insensitivity that I had allowed to cloud my decisions. In both instances what was done was done and there was not one thing I could have done about it. That part was stinkin’ frustrating.
What about you? Can you relate?
At that time, I remember drowning in a tsunami of thoughts that were not at all beneficial or helpful. Would the relationship forever be changed? Would they forgive me? Would the hurt I caused deem me not trustworthy? Would they close their heart off to me? These questions left me in turmoil. I was angry at myself. I beat myself up over and over again which was just what the devil wanted me to do. I never wanted to be THAT person, THAT mom, nor THAT friend! Yet, here I was.
Thankfully, after doing all I knew to do combined with much soul searching, prayer and surrender, I landed on my feet in the place of peace…God’s peace.
I cannot tell you that both of these relationships moved forward. Sadly, there were other circumstances beyond my control that drastically changed one of them. The other relationship, after some time, continued to grow and is healthy today.
I can honestly say that I am thankful for both experiences as I learned so much about friendship, about myself, about God’s amazing grace and about surrender.
Friend, if you have or are now experiencing this type of relational regret, you have options! Although your options won’t guarantee a desired outcome, a quick fix nor undo the damage left behind, your response CAN propel you forward OR keep you stuck in a pit of self-loathing regret. It’s YOUR choice to make.
- You can choose to let your heart harden, become defensive, shift the blame to the other person and most definitely lose the relationship.
- You can blow it off by denying or justifying the unintentional pain you caused which will only make matters worse.
- You can “own’ it. You can choose to sincerely apologize, ask for forgiveness AND fervently pray that God’s grace would invade the situation, cover your mistakes and heal the hurt you have caused.
The first two were never even on my checklist. These relationships meant too much to me. I unintentionally messed up and I knew I needed to do the right thing while being fully aware that the consequences of my mistakes could be costly.
Facing consequences can be excruciating and hard for us. Many of us are fixers by design and when we can’t fix something we are responsible for, it can send us straight to a pit of regret and discouragement that is so hard to climb out of. I know, I get it.
Maybe you need to do like I did and choose the last response mentioned above. Then, take the next step and surrender the whole messy thing to Jesus. I don’t mean just say the simple “surrender” prayer then go back to replaying the scenario over and over in your mind and allowing the enemy to take you out. I mean to truly let it go!
Friend, you cannot control how your unintentional or misunderstood actions will influence the future dynamics of your relationships. You can’t fix someone else’s heart. You can’t change their perspective. You can’t heal their pain. You can’t undo the damage done. You can’t erase that regrettable moment.
However, you CAN trust God to do what you can’t!
Dear one, can I challenge you to believe God’s word in relation to THIS circumstance?
Remember Romans 8:28? Let me remind you.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
As Christ followers, we can be intentional to claim and believe this scripture when we are in the midst of heartbreaking challenges that are beyond our control. We adamantly and courageously hold on to this promise when we are facing difficult and painful circumstances that we didn’t cause BUT what about this situation? What about when WE are the ones who caused the pain, who unknowingly hurt someone? Does this scripture become null and void? I can testify and tell you that your messy and unintentional mistakes are no exception to this promise.
Even though you may not can see good from where you are currently standing, choose to believe God’s word because that is where you will find truth when your emotions are telling you otherwise. I promise you, God can use the unintentional hurt to not only grow you but the one that was hurt, as well.
In these type of situations, the best thing and most God-honoring thing to do is ask forgiveness to both the ones we’ve hurt and to God and then trust God to take care of doing the mending.
SO, let me ask you….have you asked for forgiveness to God AND to the one you hurt? Do you understand how your words or actions, though unintentional, brought pain? If your answer is “Yes!” then congratulations! You have just had a valuable growth experience! Good for you! Now it’s time, my friend, to shake it off, and let that experience leave you better than you were before!
You see, the devil wants you to walk around defeated and filled with guilt and regret. What he doesn’t want is for you to experience grace….God’s amazing grace. Whether it comes from the one you hurt or only from God Himself, it is there for you to fully embrace. Hold your head up, praise God you are forgiven and leave the outcome at the feet of Jesus!
God’s mercy, grace and love is sufficient for you, for the one you hurt, for me and for all others who have messed up a time or two.
Relationships are certainly humbling and the best teachers we have.
Faith step: After you have done all you know to do, choose today to believe Romans 8:28 for every misstep, every unintentional hurt, and every relationship wound you may have caused.