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Hurt People Hurt People

That phrase says a lot. People who are hurt often afflict others with their pain. People who had raging parents usually take it out on their own kids. Those who were rejected often sabotage their next relationship. Child abusers were usually abused as children.

 Look, we’ve all been hurt. No one can escape childhood without suffering some serious ego bruising even if the home front is a safe haven. Schools are toxic. So is dating. So is much of life. The issue isn’t if we’ll be hurt, it’s when and by whom. But the outcome of our life isn’t decided by how we’ve been hurt but rather by what we do with it. Many people who started out awful created beautiful lives for themselves. Helen Keller comes to mind. Others who didn’t have it nearly so bad can embrace a victim mind set, making their life immeasurably worse.

 Hemingway was asked what was the best preparation for being a great writer. His answer? An unhappy childhood. He funneled his early suffering into a creative channel to become the greatest novelist of his generation. Sadly, he never found what he needed to get over that childhood pain. He committed suicide after a life filled with failed relationships, alcoholism, and much personal tragedy.

 Ultimately, we have no one to blame for our lives but ourselves. Years ago I heard a great teacher refer to this as the PIT: Personally Induced Turbulence. Can you see this in your life -- times when you stir up the very things that cause your own misery? I know I can. We are all our own worst enemies.

 That’s why a biblical lifestyle is so healthy. We are promised that if we love God and follow His call on our life everything will work for our good. Amazing. Everything? What people do to us? What we do to ourselves? Our shortcomings, injustices, personal tragedy -- even our sins? Everything helps us? Now there’s an absolute I like.

 We’re also promised that life will improve. The path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter the longer they live. Someone explained it this way. For a nonbeliever life starts out easy – babies have no problems – but it gets harder and harder. For a Christian, their early spiritual life is difficult, but it gets easier as you grow and learn life’s manifold lessons.

 The reason for this is simple. Once a person becomes a Christian, his whole life needs to change. That’s because everything in God’s Kingdom is upside down. It’s blessed to be poor in spirit. Meekness causes us to inherit the earth. When someone hits you, you’re to turn the other cheek; if they steal from you give them more than they took; if they force you to do something, go further than they demand. Christianity is the only religion with the audacity to tell us to love our enemies.

 None of these things are natural. Such spiritual responses defy our natural inclinations. In fact, you could say that living like this is humanly impossible. Which brings to mind the story of Corrie Ten Boom. She’s the Dutch Christian whose family helped Jews escape in World War II, only to be imprisoned in a concentration camp where most of her family died. Years later she came face to face with a prison guard who tortured her and killed her sister. She not only forgave the guard but she also led her to Christ.

 How could she do that? The things that are impossible for men are HIM-possible. The same Christ who forgave his killers and torturers lived in her and He lives in you. His strength is perfected in our weakness, his love revealed in our rejection, his joy transformed through our agony.

 No one likes to talk about the baptism of fire mentioned in the New Testament but few things help us more. Life is sometimes a refining fire – one that purges out the dross that holds us back. But with God’s help, we can celebrate our suffering. I’m not suggesting being a masochist for Christ. Properly handled, suffering shapes us for a fuller, happier, more loving and joyful existence.

 Whenever I think I have it bad I reflect on the Apostle Paul. He wrote Colossians from the most despicable, miserable prison cell you can imagine, yet this epistle contains about joy than any other book in the Bible. It is said so often it’s almost trite: when life gives you lemons make lemonade, or at least serve seafood.

 I know this: were it not for my own brokenness, I would not be helping others heal their pain, and nothing in life is more rewarding for me than that. I also know that if we love God and do His will, everything that comes into our life makes us better. And the better we get, the better our lives get. That’s great news.

 Our retreats can make you better the easy way. Nothing has helped me grow more with less pain than a great retreat. Nothing has made me better or helped me more. That’s why we offer them. It’s a shortcut to sanctification, a highway to greater wholeness. I hope you will prayerfully consider attending the next one. I’m positive you’ll be very glad you did.



Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "
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