Dealing With Hurts

Theme: What to do when we are wounded by friends or loved ones

Text: Numbers 12: 1-15

There will be times in our Christian journey that life may become difficult, maybe even traumatic. Sometimes these difficult times originate from friends or even from close family members. Unfortunately, the more intense our love for the one that inflicts the hurt, the greater the depth of the hurt.

Below are some scenarios of hurts that wound deeply:
bulleta child becomes rebellious
bulleta marriage goes soar
bulleta treasured friend turns their back on you
bulleta boyfriend or girlfriend betrays you
bulleta sibling turns against you and becomes greedy
bulletsome sharp words seem to attack you.

These are only some of the situations that some of us must work through and still maintain a Christian attitude. In our lesson today we will view a similar scene that will give us principles to follow when we encounter wounds deep in our spirit.

Read Numbers 12: 1-15. Notice the improper passion of Aaron and Miriam and the tremendous patience of Moses under this defiance that was coming from his siblings and fellow leaders. Aaron the High Priest and Miraim the prophetess were in joint leadership with Moses. These two were angry with him. They were questioning his qualifications as a leader.

Many times, Moses felt this same kind of hurt, however, the wounds cut more deeply when the attack came from his own brother and sister. Now criticism was not a new thing for Moses. He had been criticized before and he was able to endure it with courage. When he first confronted Pharaoh, the Hebrews accused him of doing more harm than good. The children of Israel accused Moses of trying to kill them by taking them out into the dessert. We read in Numbers 16 an incident where Korah and his company criticized Moses. However, in Numbers 12 his own brother and sister publicly criticized him and challenged his leadership. This hurt must have cut deeper than the previous incidents because it came from his trusted companions and siblings.

Hebrews 12:3, "Now Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." This reference to Moses being the most meek man on earth is said to be a parenthetical comment added by Joshua after Moses' death. It is not probable as some commentators have suggested, that Ezra or Joshua inserted the words meek or humble. We do notice that this verse has parenthesis around it so this supposition could be the case. We are most certain that Moses would not be one that would write about himself in such a bold manner.

The criticism was so devastating to Moses that he couldn't respond. He was in a mental anguish by these words from his brother and sister. With our verse saying Moses was the meekest man in the world, we learn much about meekness that is not the common view of the world about meekness. Meekness is often viewed as weakness, shyness, passiveness, backwardness, femininity, a lack of courage and as someone who would never lift up his voice in protest of anything. But meekness as seen here is far different. It is strength to hold your tongue when you are being attacked by unjust criticism; it is humbleness that does not arrogantly strut your calling and position; and it is faith that trusts God to take care of your vindication needs. Meekness as seen in Moses is submission to the will and the way of God by a calm temperament.

The Details of the Story
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?" they said, "Hasn't He also spoken through us?" And the LORD heard this" (vv. 1,2). Moses marriage to a Cushite woman was neither morally nor legally wrong. Miriam and Aaron's complaint was a smokescreen to cover their jealousy of Moses' authority. I suggest that Miriam didn't give a care about Moses' marriage. She had a problem of jealous. Moses had had a wife now and Miriam was feeling that perhaps this Cushite woman could have some influence on the women in the camp. The ugly head of Jealousy was rearing up. Jealousy is ugly because:
bulletIt makes us selfish and we start being protective about "our minister" or "our space" rather than seeking simply to serve the Lord in whatever way He wants to use us.
bulletJealousy makes us unteachable. In order to be instructed we must be able to listen without feeling threatened by those who speak.
bulletIt makes us overly sensitive. A jealous and insecure person will over-react to things that appear to threaten their space.
bulletJealousy will eat us and cause us to hurt people around us.
Moses was devastated by this treachery that has come from within his own family.

What Moses Chose Not to Do:

bulletHe didn't strike back
bulletHe held his tongue
bulletHe trusted God to vindicate
bulletHe didn't try to defend himself
bulletHe didn't list his accomplishments
bulletHe didn't try to edge them out of their position
bulletHe kept silent.

Moses did not portray a resentment to the hurt that was done to him nor did he complain to God concerning this hurt. Even though Moses kept silent, God heard the complaint from Miriam and Aaron.

Psalm 38:13-15,"They that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long. But I, as a deaf man heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs. For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: Thou wilt hear O Lord my God."

Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Deut. 32: 35-42, "To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste."

Hebrews 10:30, "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people."

The way Moses responded is the same way Jesus responded. He kept silent too. He knew that his accusers were not interested in finding the truth. They were only interested in getting their own way. Moses recognized this negative attitude.

We also must make this kind of response when attacked by others. Most of the time, the more we talk about the situation the worse things will become.

What Moses Chose to Do
He let God do the striking. God calls the three siblings to a meeting in the tent of Moses. Miriam and Aaron might have thought that God was going to give them some special position, but God speaks to the two of them directly, face to face. God says to them: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions; I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"

Here God affirms the position He has given to Moses and God rebukes Miriam and Aaron. You see, Moses does not have to defend himself. God defends Moses.

God's instructions in His Word are clear. Leave the matter to Him and keep silent if you know without a doubt that you are innocent. His Word instructs us like this in Deut. 32:35-36.

Then in the New Testament the Apostle Paul elaborates on the same subject in Romans 12: 17-19, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

In other words, let God handle the situation. Now that is sometimes tough to do, but while we wait for the Lord to vindicate us He instructs us to do five things.

  1. Resist the temptation to strike back.
  2. Do what is right according to the Word of God. We have a responsibility to continue to act with love and kindness. This will determine how deep our faith really is.
  3. Do everything possible to maintain peace. Also, notice that Paul instructs us to continue to seek reconciliation. We must do everything we can do to re restore peace.
  4. Do not seek revenge. God said He will repay. God alone knows all the variables of the circumstances.
  5. Always respond to evil with good.

A difficult assignment - Absolutely! We can only obey this assignment with the help of the Holy Spirit and with much prayer.

Moses continues to pray for his sister that has hurt him so deeply. Miriam is struck with leprosy. She became an outcast and had to be set aside outside the camp. Aaron didn't receive any punishment so we can assume that Miriam must have been the instigator of the whole plot and criticism against Moses. Aaron approaches Moses and asks Moses to pray for his sister.

Matthew 5:44, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you."

Moses still had a love for his sister. He did not respond with negative words. He begins an intercession for his sister and appeals to God to heal her. God waits for a week before he heals Miriam. I am sure that God wants the people to see that attacking God's leader is serious. He does not respond lightly to such actions.

Here Are Some Very Important Lessons for Us to Learn:
  1. Is this criticism justified?
  2. Do I need to really hear what is being said?
  3. Am I involved in some sin?
  4. Do I need to admit to a problem that I have ignored?
  5. Could I be misunderstanding what is being said?
  6. Is my friend or loved one saying something because of concern and I am taking it as an attack?
  7. Did my critic mean something different and I misrepresented what was said?
  8. Am I reading more into the comment than what was really meant?
  9. Could there be some other issues involved?

There is an old saying that we will do well to remember, "The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism." The Scripture puts it like this:

Proverbs 15: 31-32 (TLB), "If you profit from constructive criticism you will be elected to the wise men's hall of fame. But to reject criticism is to harm yourself and your own interests."

Sometimes when words are spoken that hurt us it could be that the other person is crying for help. We need to listen carefully and be careful not to jump to conclusions.

I Corinthians 13: 3-5 (AMP), "Love endures long and is patient and kind, it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong.]

Love does not see through a microscope, but through a telescope.

Psalm 27:3 (TLB), "Though a mighty army marches against me, my heart shall know no fear! I am confident that God will save me."

When we love, we may find it best to make some allowances rather than make points.

Proverbs 12:18 (NIV), "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

Remember that we hurt Jesus with our carelessness over and over again. Yet, Jesus continues to love us and even continues to pursue us and seek the best for us. Our Lord directs us to do the same.

"...if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matt. 6:15 Jesus said that an individual who refuses to forgive others will lose the assurance of divine mercy and the joy of fellowship with God. An unwillingness to pardon another is a grievous sin, and many have paid a heavy price for failing to heed the Lord's admonition.

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