Hurt People, Hurt People

This Spring in my Crosspoint Community Group, we have been studying a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. Big title, right? It’s a big study too. It is the kind of book that makes you dig deep, ask tough questions, and work through your issues – and let’s face it we all have issues.


Last week the focus of the study was on Chapter 7, “Growing into an Emotionally Healthy Adult.” We talked about the importance of loving others maturely — treating them as human beings uniquely created by Christ instead of as a means to an end or an object. Easier said then done, right? During the conversation, Jenni Catron said, quoting Pete Wilson (who was perhaps quoting someone else but I have no idea whom – maybe this lady or maybe this man or maybe someone else entirely?), “Hurt people, hurt people.”

And something about this really simple statement provoked some really complex thoughts.

Because the statement implies, “Hurt people, hurt people, hurt people, hurt people…” Unless we stop this chain of hurt, it is endless. To you this may be painfully obvious, but I challenge you to spend some time thinking about it. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

I am starting to explore some of the darker areas of myself, areas that I have tried to ignore, areas that I have hoped to leave behind, areas that I am embarrassed to acknowledge. I am wondering, “how am I hurting?” And I am trying to take responsibility for healing these old wounds, in hopes that I can avoid inflicting my pain on others.

Also, I am giving those who have hurt me the benefit of the doubt (or making a valiant effort to). Acknowledging that they are probably hurting makes them relatable, and not just the source of my irritation.

We only have one more chapter of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality before this study ends and are looking for another book to study. Any recommendations?

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  • “Hurt people, hurt people, hurt people, hurt people…” My own life journey has shown this to be so true, but God in His awesome grace is teaching me how love the Judases (sp?) in my life….its not easy.

  • Have no idea who originally said it but I’ve been saying it for years. That one statement has kept me from going crazy and or lashing out at people who want to attack me.

    Another statement I’ve been really pondering lately is “everyone needs healing”. Both of these statements help me become a source of healing to people rather than continuing the cycle of hurt.

  • Such a simple phrase and yet so powerful. It has challenged my thinking since the first time I heard Pete say it too.

  • linkink

    Lindsay, are you familiar with the book titled Hurt People Hurt People by Sandra Wilson?
    I was the editor and designer so I’m biased, but I think it’s an excellent book. —Julie Ackerman Link

  • linkink

    Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize that you were referring to the book title. I thought maybe you thought it was just a catchy phrase, and since you liked it so much, I thought you should know about the book. I’d love to know what you think of it after you read it. —Julie

  • That’s a good book. Reading it as part of a leadership coaching relationship that i’m with. Still have a chapter or two to go…but have enjoyed it.

  • Ted

    Wow, really good stuff! The old adage is true, “hurt people, hurt people.”

    Reminds of something I say to my wife and the teams I lead. I say, “People do what they do b/c of who they are, not b/c of who you are.” In gist, sometimes those around us are acting out of their own hurt, and it may have nothing to do with you.

    At any rate, good post. Some good thoughts to chew on.

  • You may want to go with something lighter after that kind of study! I have a hard time reading books like that because I feel like I've gotten over things until it's brought up again! I guess that means I never got over it!

    That statement is so true though…it sounds like a psychology class, but way too many times we behave irrationally based on past occurrences. Sounds like a book newlyweds need to read in learning how to love maturely.

  • @Britt Heavy, yes. But it was also enlightening – in the uplifting sort of way. Read your story on how you met your husband. Thanks for sharing it. Love those stories.