Hurting people hurt people. Ok, I shamelessly stole that from Joyce Meyer. But it’s true. I’m the meanest and tend to lash out the most when I’m tired or worried or feeling unappreciated or stressed or scared or all of the above. Just this morning I about lost it with my kid because I was exhausted from a bad night’s sleep.
And many of us carry around deep, lasting wounds too. We may not even always realize it because we’ve built up so many defenses around ourselves over time. But unless and until we acknowledge them and try to work through them or allow God to bring some healing, we’ll probably end up either taking it out on someone else or taking it out on ourselves. Yes, it takes effort and can be painful, but it’s so worth it to get out of these hurtful cycles we perpetuate.
It’s also helpful to remember this when we encounter difficult people. I’m not in any way condoning taking things out on our kids. We do have to take responsibility for our behavior regardless of the pressure on us. But maybe the lady in the checkout line snapping at her kid is a single mother who has no help and whose ex is behind in child support. Maybe she has worked 10 hours of overtime already this week and has no idea what she’s making for dinner. And now her kid is asking for candy that she can’t really even afford for the 12th time today. Maybe instead of a disapproving glare, she could just use an encouraging word. Or a smile. There are hurting people all around us. Maybe, just occasionally, a little kindness might go a long way in easing someone’s pain. You never know.