My hubby and I were working on refinishing an old dresser this weekend. As I was sliding the newly painted and distressed drawers back into their places, it happened. I got a splinter! At that moment, I became consumed with this tiny sliver of wood wedged into the tip of my ring finger. At that moment, I felt nothing else, just pain. I showed Andrew my affliction (he was soooo sympathetic). After a search, I couldn't find a pair of tweezers, so reluctantly I went back to working and just tried to ignore it. It mostly worked, but every now and then I would pick up something or move something and it would hit that finger and the pain came back.
Hurt is like a splinter. Whether someone lied to you, or misused you, or whatever it is, the hurt can pierce you like a splinter. You can ignore it for so long, but if you do not actually dig it out and deal with, it will continue to hurt you. Maybe not constantly, but a time will come when something comes up and brings the pain flooding back. If left too long, a splinter can become infected and cause all sorts of health problems. The same is true for hurt. If you allow it stay in your life, it can consume and overtake you.
To get rid of a splinter, you have to take some tweezers and dig it out. The process sometimes takes awhile to get it all out and sometimes it is very painful. So is dealing with our hurts. Sometimes it takes talking to the person that hurt you, sometimes it takes seeing a counselor, whatever it is, we each have our own way to get through hurt.
While I never know when I may get a splinter, it would be ridiculous for me to take my bare hands and rub them over that old dresser. I would be smart to use gloves to handle the dresser, to prepare myself and protect myself. Likewise there are some situations we can not get out of, like maybe a family situation. While you may not be able to completely remove yourself from the situation, you can prepare and protect yourself. Whether it is limiting visits, standing up for yourself, or spending time in prayer before a visit. But there are some situations that are so hurtful or abusive that the best thing to do is to remove yourself entirely. Yet sometimes even after doing so, there is still hurt, while not new, it continues to linger.
The thing we must remember though, to get through the hurt, we must get all of the splinter out. Unforgiveness is like that little fragment of a splinter that is wedged down deep. It's the part that becomes infected when not removed. Forgiveness is not saying that what happened was okay. It's not about allowing the person to hurt you again. It's really not about the other person at all. It is deciding not to hold that hurt you've experienced against that person any longer. And it is not letting the hurt have any hold over you any longer. This is the step we most often forget, yet we truly can not heal until we forgive.
What splinters do you need to deal with?