Many years ago I learned this phrase from Dr. Ken Hubbard.  He was a very knowledgeable Pastor, Scholar and Mentor.  He and I were discussing a counseling session which I had guided earlier that day.  The lady spoke with an anger and attack mode.  I could not understand it because she was attacking me but we had never had a confrontation or even harsh word.  The language, the story, the anger, the snide remarks were not adding up.  There had to be more to the story than I was hearing or more to her situation than I knew.

When I shared with Dr. Hubbard what was happening (without revealing the identity of the person in any way) he quickly responded “Hurt people, hurt people.”  I took a double take.  WHAT?  I thought to myself “I spent the last two hours with this person and that’s the best you got?” 

He smiled and instructed me to check the person’s history, dig deeper into what is going on in their life.  “Somewhere in life she has been hurt and as a result she will hurt others.  Pray for her release of the baggage of being hurt.  Pray for and connect with a group that can walk with her through this struggle! Be careful because people who have been hurt will have the  tendency to hurt others, sometimes not even realizing how deeply they cut.”

This is a lesson still very real in my life and ministry today.  You can probably relate oh to well with this situation.  Hurt people are all around you.  They are in your small group, in your neighborhood, on your team, and in your family.

How you respond can be the difference in a growing long-term relationship or a broken relationship for the future.

How you respond can be the difference if ever facing the person again or whether your group ever wants to meet again.

Here are a few ways to respond? 1. walk away and ignore them. 2. yell back at them. 3. refer them to a counselor.  4. offer to meet with them to chat…then ask them if everything is going okay, hoping to open up conversation that will reveal their baggage. Letting them know you care and want to walk with them through this can be most helpful. 5. Practice 2 Timothy 1:7. Of course, 1 and 2 are not very good options, but they are ones some people choose to use. I don’t recommend them.

There are several websites that offer more information on how to respond…and others for you if your are the one acting out the hurt.  Please comment and help others by sharing how you have responded to the ‘hurt people’ around you.