David is one of my favorite bible characters. He had a very interesting life, and a good deal of conflict with his own family. His older brother, specifically, was a source of pain in his life. Here is the passage that describes one painful encounter:
1 Samuel 17:28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!”
What do you do, when people intentionally try to hurt you? What is your strategy when they purposefully bring emotional pain through putdowns and judging? Here are three suggestions. It may be time to detach from some of those relationships in your life:
1. It not you, it’s them.
Pain from hurtful words is a gift nobody wants, but some of us accept too willingly. When David’s brother chastises him, it’s because he (Eliab) is still upset, frustrated and jealous that David took from him what he thought was rightfully his. If you don’t want to be criticized, ask God not to bless you, because one comes with the other, but when criticism comes, understand that many times it reveals the subject, not the object. You have a right to refuse to continue in a relationship that brings you constant pain and hurt. This is especially true in some churches, where some people are not just willing to die for the truth, they are willing to kill for it.
2. Look for patterns.
Notice the phrase that David uses in 1 Samuel 17:29 “What have I done now?” David replied. That phrase denotes that this was a pattern for David’s brother. Everyone can have a bad day. What we must look for are patterns on dysfunction. We lie to ourselves when we tolerate abuse from a repeat offender thinking: “it will get better”, or “maybe I’m making too much out of it”. Unless an intervention happens, and the person seeks help, the past is the best predictor of the future.
3. Move on.
It’s easier said than done. I know. For some of us, the familiar pain is preferred to the unknown healing. But it must be done. David did. 1 Samuel 17:30 He walked over to some others… Most of the cases of emotional abuse that I see in people, it takes much too long for people to come to the realization that this is not normal, things will not get better and time heals no wounds when the offender has a knife in his hands. David walked away. I can too. Everyone will not like you. That is a fact of life. Instead of obsessing with the Eliab’s in your life, concentrate on taking care of the giant.
Any other suggestions? Keep the conversation going…If you are going through a hard time right now in this area, I would love to pray for you. Leave your name or message me.