Have You Ever Wondered—
Will People Ever Stop Hurting One Another?
IT’S not uncommon to hear that someone’s feelings have been hurt. That kind of hurt often lasts even longer than when the injury is physical. Perhaps it seems that life will always be like this. But there is sound reason to believe that something better is possible. To appreciate how that can be, it’s helpful to consider first—
WHY DO PEOPLE HURT ONE ANOTHER?
Usually it’s because a person is thinking strictly about himself and his own feelings. He may not really want to hurt anyone, but, for the moment, selfishness crowds out any concern for others.
For instance, a man may work all day under a disagreeable boss. His frustrations boil, but he needs the job so he keeps quiet. But what happens when he gets home? All he can think about is his own hurt. He lashes out at his wife, who also may have had a difficult day. She, in turn, may take her hurt out on the children.
If a person is overly sensitive, he can allow the smallest incident to cause him to hurt another. In a large city one family’s clothesline pole fell into a neighbor’s backyard causing some damage. This sparked two years of hostility between the families, and finally the couple who owned the pole was mercilessly gunned down by the neighbor. Imagine, all because of a broken window and a few crushed shrubs! Touchiness and self-centeredness crowded out any feelings of compassion.
So pressure from others, frustrations, being touchy—all of these can cause us to strike out against others. Sadly, so often those we hurt are our own loved ones.
WHAT CAN HELP US TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEM?
There are a lot of ideas about this. But who really knows us better than anyone else? Isn’t it our Creator? What practical advice does he give?
“Finally, all of you be like-minded, showing fellow feeling, having brotherly affection, tenderly compassionate, humble in mind, not paying back injury for injury or reviling for reviling.”—1 Pet. 3:8, 9.
The need to have “fellow feeling” is stressed. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Isn’t this often the answer? Before you speak, ask yourself, ‘How would I feel if someone said the same thing to me? Would it hurt?’ If so, then why say it?—Luke 6:31.
Having “fellow feeling” will enable us to realize that those who treat us harshly may be under pressure, tired or ill and may not intend to irritate. Such empathy on our part can enable us to avoid returning injury for injury.
Though the Bible’s counsel is good, those who have tried it realize that it’s not always easy to apply. Why is this?
IS SOMETHING ABOUT THE HUMAN MAKEUP INVOLVED?
If we’re honest, we have to admit that we all have a tendency to do bad. As the Bible explains, we are born with an inheritance of sin.—Ps. 51:5.
“That’s just it,” some will argue. “We are all born sinners. We’re weak and naturally do bad. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s just the way we are!” Quite to the contrary, we can avoid being overwhelmed by our sinful tendencies. In fact, knowledge of our sinful condition can make it easier to avoid hurting others. How so?
If we realize that we are sinners like everyone else, we hardly can feel superior to others. Recognizing this makes it easier to follow the Bible counsel: “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering. Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. [Why?] Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also.” (Col. 3:12, 13) Such a person remembers that he has often begged forgiveness from God and been freely forgiven. This enables him to put up with the weaknesses of others, even if he has a legitimate “cause for complaint.”
WHAT ABOUT A WHOLE WORLD WITHOUT HURTFULNESS?
Such is possible—indeed, certain—for God promises to destroy all who are unwilling to live at peace with their fellowmen. After describing the “destruction of the ungodly men,” the apostle Peter writes: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Pet. 3:7, 13.
The warm condition that now exists among those who follow Bible principles will prevail earth wide. People who formerly displayed beastlike dispositions will manifest gentleness. The prophet Isaiah describes this figuratively, saying:
“And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. . . . They will not do any harm or cause any ruin.”—Isa. 11:6-9.
Just imagine, no one will “harm” or hurt another! God will see to it that sin is wholly eliminated, taking with it all the emotions that incite strife.