No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12:11 (HCSB)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. -Romans 3:23 (HCSB)

We all know people who can hurt others in a completely unaware fashion. They’re so used to it that they don’t even see it as hurting others, or maybe even don’t remember it!

Some behaviors people have been battling head on for years–and losing in their own strength–but can finally name and see them for what they are, are:

  • Abusive communication: Interruption, railroading, dismissal, insults, etc.
  • Boundary violations of personal space, time, privacy, etc.
  • Isolation
  • Denial of bad behavior
  • Projection: When the offender imposes false negative attributes and behaviors on you
  • Fear, obligation, and guilt (FOG)
  • Emotional, mental, and physical abuse

A truth God keeps showing me is that those who are badly hurting inside manifest it outwardly by hurting others. It’s too easy to write people off as bad because they exhibit bad behavior. We’re all fallen.

Tough love: Fighting darkness with light

The compassion to see and feel for the hurting is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but we are called to be loving, not enabling. For example, when those who claim to be Christ followers tell you that they hate you, you don’t simply say nothing or dismiss them or fire back. You pull out the sword of the Spirit–God’s Word–and chop right through the hate:

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. -1 John 3:15 (HCSB)

The outcome of your application of the word is either fierce anger on the part of the offender, or repentance. Because no matter what the reason behind bad behavior, it is still not God-honoring, and it must be met with the light of God’s Word.

In addition, it’s time to set healthy boundaries…build fences, not walls.

Walk with God, not the flesh, as your offender is. Know that God is with you as you fight the good fight of faith, because sometimes the biggest spiritual battles are behind closed doors…the ones no one else sees. But God sees, and is with you.