Hurt people hurt people. Life is wounded. We’ve all been hurt. As long as we continue to live in this world, we will experience pain. If we do not learn how to heal from our pain and learn healthy ways to deal with pain, we develop maladaptive behaviors. These behaviors eventually can lead to suicide or masochism.

Hurt people hurt people

No, it does not make sense in South Carolina.

How can someone go into the house of God, sit there during a Bible study and afterwards kill nine innocent people?

It did not make sense in Connecticut.

How could someone enter an elementary school and massacre twenty innocent children?

It did not make sense in Texas.

How could a father lure his two teenage daughters into his cab and then kill them?

It did not make sense in Colorado.

Or how could two high school students massacre their classmates and teachers?

The list goes on; and, again, I say, “It does not make sense.” Whether these crimes are racially motivated, considered honor killings, done for fame, or just plain motivated by evil, they are all crimes against humanity.

I’ll never forget the question Dr. David Allen, a psychiatrist, posed to me while observing his program called “The Family: People Helping People,” a type of group therapy to help Bahamians deal with the pain and hurt in their lives. I was in The Bahamas and the death of Eric Garner was being discussed. “Is it racism?” Dr. Allen asked the group of about forty people. Most of the black men present nodded their heads. Then, Dr. Allen turned and asked me the same question, knowing that I lived in the U.S. I paused, then answered, “Not necessarily, because I see it here

[in The Bahamas] too, except the police officers are black.” The truth that Dr. Allen’s question evoked is that police brutality is an issue all around the world because hurting people are all over the world. When we do not learn to deal with our own hurt, we hurt other people, and in the worst ways (un)imaginable as we channel the pain towards a particular group, sex, individual, or our own self.

Life is wounded

Pain is a part of our humanity. At some point in our life we all know what it is to feel pain. Those of us who have lost loved ones, particularly through a tragedy, know what it is to feel pain. Those of us who have been victims know what it is to experience suffering. But if we are open to the lessons pain and suffering teach us, we would discover our “common humanity,” that which unites us as human beings.

That was what Dr. Allen’s program was doing as I looked at the various socio-economic and ethnic groups represented in the meeting. We were all one because of our pain. It did not matter if we were black or white or from the ghetto or the suburbs. Underneath the self or selves we projected, we were all the same.

The tragedy in South Carolina on June 18, 2015 is an opportunity for us to grieve together, as a nation and as a part of the human race. We grieve also as the Body of Christ because members of our one Body have been martyred. But we interpret every situation in life as “God’s hands in every translation,” and we also know that our suffering matures and ripens us so that we are made fit for God (Meditation 17) to be vessels of love in action, demonstrating, humility, compassion, empathy, forgiveness and reconciliation.

God is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). As we grieve, let us reflect on the lives of our dear ones we have lost. Let us take the opportunity to contemplate our own recourse and allow our pain and suffering to draw us to God who is our soul’s security and the One who heals through His Love (John 3:16).


Meditation 17