Feelings can’t hurt, but they can direct you towards what is in pain. The ego is fragile. It is capable of encountering painful experiences. It can because it’s empty by nature. Because ego is naturally void, it’s always busy trying to fill itself up. This is gleaned from Dr. Timothy Keller’s 40 min/26 sec audio sermon Blessed Self-forgetfulness.
Feelings are the messenger; not the message. Just because we may not like a message we receive doesn’t mean we focus on the messenger to fix it. The source needs attention. In the case of feeling offended by others, others are not the source of offense. Self is.
Others can’t make us feel a particular way without our consent. It’s relatively easy to push a proud person’s buttons.
A truly humble person can’t be made to feel hurt or offended. Humility is thinking of yourself less. It is not thinking less of yourself. The more we know how much God loves us, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the less self gets attention.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Everything flows from our heart; not to our heart. When we love God with our entire heart, we must guard that love from other loves seeping in. Anything over-riding our love for God is idolatry.
Our love for God is the root from which the fruit of our love for others ripens. Without this root, our love for others is not agape love. It’s selfish and makes our ego vulnerable to pain from external sources. With this root, our ego is not fragile or empty. It will enable us to be strong in the Lord.
Anti-bully legislation sparked by no tolerance for bullies is good, but it isn’t the solution. Christ’s righteousness is. Those who bully others do so because they are enslaved to their self-pride and their egos are empty. Our worst bully is self-pride.
Bullies are not bullies because they lack knowledge or don’t have sufficient intelligence. It’s because their hearts are without God’s love. Teaching does not stop bullying. A broken heart and contrite spirit, willing to repent and be a new creature in Christ, is what is necessary.
We are to pray for our enemies. If God saves them, that’s wonderful. If He doesn’t, then that’s okay too. He will avenge His enemies. We don’t know who they ultimately are, so it’s best for us to leave vengeance in God’s hands.
It is God’s will for us to protect ourselves as much as it is in our power to do so. God gets no glory from us being doormats. What we can’t control, He can and will.