It’s not even summer yet and I have already been burned. Sunburned that is. It’s quite tragic at times, coming to grips with the realization that I am the whitest Italian ever. Conducting staff meeting outside this week just proved this truth again, leaving me with the most wicked of “farmer’s tan.” I don’t even farm! Boo.
If we look back, from childhood to now, I’m pretty sure we can all think of times when we have been “burned” by people. It can range from the cool girl hiding your planner in science class and making fun of you in front of everyone because you couldn’t find it (that didn’t happen to me) to your parent never coming through on a promise to a trusted friend gossiping about you to someone else.
Relatives, family members, best friends, employees, children, neighbors, school officials…I mean, really, anyone who breathes and walks has been burned or has burned someone.
I couldn’t help but think that being sunburned really has a lot to do with being burnt in real life. Being burnt stinks.
Most times when you get burnt, it catches you off guard. You may even put on sunscreen to protect yourself and you still get burnt! It’s kind of like life. Most times when we are offended by someone, or they hurt us, it catches us off guard; we didn’t expect it. Especially when we did our best to protect ourselves and guard our hearts. This makes the burn so much worse. Then, you’re left to deal with the aftermath. A hot sunburn.
After the burn, there is THE STING, which, personally, I feel is the worst of it. My cat pawed my sunburn this morning, and it stung! Get. Off. Of. Me. Cat. We are NOT friends right now. The sting makes getting dressed uncomfortable, sleeping uncomfortable, working uncomfortable…it affects every part of your life. When we leave a burn untreated, “the sting” gets comfortable making your life tough. When we experience a burn in life, the sting will certainly come. But, it is our choice to let it linger. I don’t know about you, but when I get sunburned, my initial reaction isn’t one of happiness or subdued sadness… I’m ticked! Likewise, when I get burned in real life by someone, my initial defense is to act out of anger. Not treating a burn leads to skin peeling and skin blisters. How about this? Allowing continuous burns to affect you heightens your chances of skin cancer.
Don’t allow the offenses you experience from others spread like wild fire in your life. We will all be offended one time or another, even multiple times. You may even be in a situation of offense right now! Don’t allow the enemy to keep you from your calling and your purpose by taking your focus off of Jesus and putting your focus on your pain and what people have done to you.
That’s why we need to allow our skin to heal with care and time. When you are sunburned, you’ll put some sort of ointment (true fact: I hate the sound of that word) or aloe on to ease the sting. When others hurt you, leave you high and dry, push you to doubt or wallow in anger- remember God’s word. The Bible isn’t just a book, it’s a place for you to find healing and practical ways to deal with life’s troubles. Allow God to speak into your life and heal the burns you experience. Psalm 18:6 says, “But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.”
Also, allow time for healing. Sunburn doesn’t disappear overnight (although I wish it did) and neither do real life burns. Be patient with yourself and allow time, along with God’s word, to bring relief, release, and confidence to you.
Lastly, extend grace. I know, it sounds crazy but one day, you will need grace because you will burn someone else. Whether you will mean it or not, it’s inevitable because we are humans with hangups. Forgive, let go and show grace.
Being burned sucks! BUT hope is found in knowing we can grow from it and in turn, become a stronger, wiser person.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE BURN
EXODUS 14:14 COLOSSIANS 3:13 MICAH 7:8 JAMES 1:19
EPHESIANS 4:32 HEBREWS 12:15 JAMES 4:6 PROVERBS 4:23
ISAIAH 41:10 ROMANS 8:28 1 PETER 5:7 PHILIPPIANS 4:6