A spiritual response to hurt feelings
Updated: Feb 10, 2021
By Elaina Simpson, C.S.
Ever had your hurt feelings hurt? Perhaps that's a rhetorical question, but there is an answer! Christian Science teaches that in any challenge, we can respond with metaphysical prayer. We can respond, instead of reacting by ruminating and feeling resentful and hurt. Prayer brings the warmth of Love to consciousness, that evaporates lingering resentment and hurt feelings.
A while ago, I felt hurt from a relationship. This was someone I trusted. It seemed like they’d be in my life a long time, and then... They weren’t. I felt defeated, and almost abandoned by this. It felt like all the love I had to give went away with the relationship. But, I knew this was something I could pray about.
The Bible says, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Lk. 10:19) I didn’t have to be negatively affected by someone else’s actions. I could prayerfully respond and know that my relationship to Love, God was intact. This relationship could never be damaged. After prayerful study, I was set free from those feelings of resentment or injustice. This lesson blessed all of my relationships going forward. Relying on prayer is something we all can do, especially in regards to our relationships. The Bible tells us to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) When I prayed about this, it was clear that we should trust God alone, instead of people. Trusting Principle (a synonym for God), instead of person. Whoa. What a concept. But I was skeptical…. On a sports team you should trust your teammates, and in a friendship you should trust that your friend will be loyal, and you should trust your family! True, trusting friends is favorable over a fearful mistrust. But, trusting a person is not the best choice. The error of trusting 'person' leaves the door wide open to feeling let down by human mistakes... Especially with all the glass marbles of emotion placed in the hands of another. Our only trust and security is in God, and when this idea known prayerfully, we are unshakable. Anytime the word “trust” is used in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings, it is always in regards to trusting God, not people. In regards to human relationships, Eddy uses the word, “confidence” several times in her primary writing Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Trusting God, simultaneously brings the necessary confidence that’s important for good relationships. It feels good to have a sense of confidence in a relationship. When our trust is in God alone, we naturally find confidence in our relationships.
Prayer reveals that nothing and no one has the power to take away our peace, joy and security. The only power is in Principle God, never in person. Eddy writes, “The wicked man is not the ruler of his upright neighbor. Let it be understood that success in error is defeat in Truth.” (SH 239:11–13) She also writes, “To punish ourselves for others' faults, is superlative folly. The mental arrow shot from another's bow is practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it. It is our pride that makes another's criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another's deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another's self-assertion. Well may we feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others.” (Misc. 223:29)
There is a pretty well-known fictional analogy of a snake in desperate need of help, which applies to this subject. A wildlife attendant reached out to save this snake, and was bitten. The attendant tried a second time, rescuing the snake by picking it up with a tool. An onlooker asked why she had helped the snake after it bit her. She replied that even though the snake bit her, that didn’t change her character. That's a helpful lesson.
Even if you witness an unloving act, or find yourself in a so-called challenging situation of some sort, our true nature (how God made us) remains uninterrupted. Our prayer helps us see this, as our true, spiritual nature isn't dependent on person or event. This is what Christ Jesus taught about ‘turning the other cheek.’ We can turn to God. --Mentally turning away from what's erroneous. It’s not about permitting bad behavior, but about responding in a helpful way... Without harboring hurt feelings and without the revenge of resentment or retaliation.
Needless to say, snakes are God’s creatures and loved ideas. But for symbolism's sake, the snake in this story represents the Genesis II serpent. One might think it represents a person, but it doesn't. The serpent or the belief of evil, makes suggestions that we are hurt. It suggests that we are material, living in a material word that can hurt us. But in a metaphysical (above-physical) sense, God made us spiritual. Our consent to a mortal thought picture, is the only thing that really bites and makes one feel hurt. In our prayer, we see that we are all spiritual ideas of God, and in reality, work in harmony together. We find that we don’t have to let a challenge have the power to influence our overall well being. We are like Constantine, “A courtier told Constantine that a mob had broken the head of his statue with stones. The emperor lifted his hands to his head, saying: “It is very surprising, but I don't feel hurt in the least.” (Mis. 224:7) Literally in this example, Constantine wasn’t really damaged. Only the counterfeit version was. Similarly and spiritually, we are held above and out of reach from hurtful situations. As a spiritual idea of God, we are untouched.
No matter what is said or done, we simply can’t accept the outward circumstance as the only reality and truth. There is something so much greater going on and that is... Our everlasting, permanent, indestructible relationship with Love. Just as nothing can stop the sun from shining, nothing can take away your light. Right now, this very moment, we are each at one with God’s infinite source of Love. Here in thought, there simply is no room for being offended, hurt, touched or affected by anything but Love. Much love,