Searching the Scriptures:

What to Do about Hurt Feelings

By Robert J. Matthews

Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture
Brigham Young University

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    “It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1.)

    The scriptures are a guide to us, that we might not give offense to others and also that we might bear the afflictions and offenses others heap on us.

    Jesus gave instructions that “unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other.” (Luke 6:29.)

    “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

    “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;

    “For if ye love them [only] which love you, what reward have ye? …

    “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matt. 5:41, 44, 46–47.)

    In latter-day revelation the Lord has said:

    “My disciples, in days of old, sought occasions against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.

    “Wherefore, … he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.

    “And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.” (D&C 64:8–9, 11.)

    “Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.” (D&C 31:9.)

    Paul exhorted the saints:

    “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

    “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. …” (Eph. 4:31–32.)

    “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, … mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering;

    “Forebearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any. …

    “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts. …” (Col. 3:12–13, 15.)

    Paul counseled Timothy to “endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3); and he taught the saints to “put on the whole armour of God … wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:11, 16; see also D&C 3:8; D&C 27:17). “Fiery darts” are often in the form of unkind words and deeds directed against a person who is trying to keep the commandments of God.

    Peter wrote as follows:

    “Dearly beloved, I beseech you. …

    “[Have] your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God. …

    “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

    “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

    “… because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

    “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again. …” (1 Pet. 2:11–12, 15, 20–21, 23.)

    Again, Peter said: “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; Not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing. …” (1 Pet. 3:8–9.)

    Hurt feelings often come from feeling sorry for oneself, and this sometimes leads to pouting. Wicked King Ahab exhibited this very trait, which is indicative of spiritual immaturity. Unhappy because Naboth would not sell him a vineyard, Ahab “came into his house heavy and displeased. … And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.” (1 Kgs. 21:4.)

    Furthermore, the proud and haughty will not endure a righteous rebuke. Often they permit their feelings to be hurt, and then they rebel. Laman and Lemuel seem to illustrate this. They resented the leadership and the pointed instruction of their younger brother, Nephi. Their feelings were manifest in complaining and murmuring and refusing to work. Their father, Lehi, said to them:

    “… ye have accused him [Nephi] that he sought power and authority over you. …

    “And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God … and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God. …” (2 Ne. 1:25–26.)

    King Ahab demonstrated the same littleness of soul in being more concerned with his pride than with the truth. Therefore, of Micaiah the prophet he said: “… but I hate him: for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but vile.” (1 Kgs. 22:8.)

    We see from the scriptures that a proud and a selfish person will probably become angry when he is persecuted, or even when given a righteous correction; whereas a humble person is more apt to be thankful for the correction and will also endure persecution patiently, asking the Lord for strength to continue in the faith.