Can I Behave Right When Someone Treats Me Wrong? [Episode 222]

Behave Right Treated Wrong

Can you behave right when someone treats you wrong? It’s hard, isn’t it? We feel hurt, and when we’re hurt, we feel the impulse to either retaliate or run in the other direction.

But there is a way—a biblical and better way—to behave right when someone treats you wrong. And the reason you want to behave right isn’t necessarily because the other person deserves it, but because you inherit a blessing when you do.

Besides, it doesn’t take long to realize that when we don’t respond in the right way, it just makes everything worse. Am I right?

So today, we’re talking about what to do and what not to do.

We’ll first look at some common instincts we have when we’re treated wrong (the ways we shouldn’t respond), and then we’ll consider the contrasting biblical response (the ways we should respond).

Behaving right isn’t easy, but it is possible. And this conversation will help you slow down, think through your response, and choose what’s better.

Plus, it will help you understand why forgiveness is so difficult, as well as why it’s so necessary.

Oh girl, it’s good stuff!

So, open up your heart—and your Bible—as we let Scripture guide us toward freedom and peace when we’ve been wronged.

Scripture References in This Episode

Ephesians 6:12
1 Corinthians 13:5
1 Peter 4:8
1 Peter 3:9
1 Peter 2:22-23
1 Peter 4:15-16
1 Peter 4:19
1 John 1:9
1 Peter 2:15

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Behave Right When Someone Treats Me Wrong? [Episode 222]

Jennifer Rothschild: Can you behave right when someone treats you wrong? It's hard, isn't it? We feel hurt. And when we're hurt, we feel the impulse to either retaliate or run the other direction. But there is a way, a biblical and better way to behave right when someone treats you wrong. And the reason you want to do it is not necessarily because the other person deserves it, no, but because you inherit a blessing when you do. So let's find out what to do when someone does you wrong and how to do it. All right? Freedom and peace, they are on the way.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hello, our people. We're so happy you're with us. That was K.C. Wright, my seeing eye guy. My friend, your friend. We know from your reviews that he feels like a friend to you. And he is. He's one of the best, I gotta say, I gotta say.

K.C. Wright: Ooh.

Jennifer Rothschild: We're talking today about something that's going to be super relevant, unfortunately. I want us to get real honest about this, how we should behave when someone treats us wrong. Because I personally have gotten it wrong in the past.

K.C. Wright: Same. Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I think I see lots of people, especially on social media, getting it wrong. And, K.C., am I right? It just makes everything worse.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: It really does.

K.C. Wright: And all of us are treated wrong sometimes, and sometimes we're the ones doing wrong in the way we treat others. So I think this message is timely to talk about and we need to just tackle this on what to do when this happens to you. And so I'm looking forward to this. I'm pulling up my own chair to this podcast.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know, right? Pull up your chair and pull out your Bible. We're going to go through some Scripture. So if you're one who likes to refer to the Scripture, please pull out your Bible because we're going to talk through some Scripture. Because I'll tell you, I've really analyzed this. When someone does me wrong or when I perceive they have done me wrong, I have the tendency to respond by retreating. You know, like, I just hide inside myself. I just don't say anything, I try to just pull back instead of retaliating. Now, in my mind, I might be doing it, but -- you know.

So what about you, K.C., how do you behave initially? Like, when someone treats you wrong, what's your first instinct?

K.C. Wright: Well, I've had several moments in my life where this has happened, and my first thought, honestly, is we fight not against flesh and blood.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: So our fight is not against them.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: And I --

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, that's good that you can get there quickly.

K.C. Wright: I always go there first because, you know, we don't fight against flesh and blood. But I always have this stamped on my mind, that love is the way to victory.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Love wins, yeah.

K.C. Wright: And so you just do have to let it go and walk in love.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

K.C. Wright: Now, it's healthy to avoid toxic relationships. And I'm sure that we'll get down the road on this and stuff like that. But sometimes you got to love. You got to agree to disagree, I guess.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. Yes, exactly.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Exactly. Well, and it's not healthy -- so what you just described is very healthy. It's not healthy to run the other direction or to quickly retaliate. But when I am not walking in the Spirit, one of those two things tends to be my response. But I agree, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but it's hard to remember sometimes. So first, I want us to look at some ways that we might respond when we're treated wrong. Because I know, as K.C. said that and as I described mine, you're probably listening and thinking, oh, yeah, well, when somebody treats me wrong, I -- fill in the blank. Okay? So let's look at some common ways. And then we're going to see how to behave right. Because a lot of us do get it wrong.

So one way that we behave when somebody treats us wrong is what I already described, we retreat, right? It's what I do often. I will hide in myself, I will pretend that nothing's going wrong, I'll pull back from the person or the situation. And that doesn't mean, though, unfortunately, that I'm overlooking the offense, no. Inside myself, like, I am sitting there with myself and I'm having a discussion with me and myself and I and I'm talking to myself about it. So when we do this, though, we tend to hold on to the pain. We hold on to it. So I'm wondering, is that you? Is that what you do?

Okay, here's another. We retaliate. This is so obvious. You know what this looks like. You get that person back. If they hurt you, you hurt them. But here's the thing. When we do this, we are holding the hurt against the person. Okay? We're just holding it against them and we're using it as a weapon, and we use it to fuel us and to fuel our anger to get them back. We're going to hurt them like they hurt us.

All right, here's another one. Some of us are rehearsers. We rehearse. And some of you right now are smiling because you're like, oh, gosh, I don't even -- she doesn't even have to explain this, I know exactly what that is because that's what I do. We go over it and over it and over it and we rehearse how they have hurt us, and what they said and what they did, and we hold our own show, right? And we're the star of the show and we review all of the hurts, and we -- like the Bible says, we hold a record of wrongs. You know, that's what 1 Corinthians says, that love doesn't hold a record of wrongs, but that's what we do. When we're rehearsing, we are holding this record of wrongs.

K.C. Wright: Ooh. And love covers a multitude of sins.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right?

K.C. Wright: And hurting people hurt people; but healed people heal people.

Jennifer Rothschild: Exactly.

K.C. Wright: It's so funny that we can be really forgetful, but most of us can remember how somebody did us wrong.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: Probably because we are good rehearsers.

But I've got one. So far you're listing words that start with R.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right.

K.C. Wright: How about this one?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

K.C. Wright: Reconcile.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, that's a good one actually.

K.C. Wright: Yup, reconcile. But if we were quick to reconcile, we wouldn't be talking about it. Herein lies the problem --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Amen.

K.C. Wright: -- thus the podcast. But honestly, even if you are quick to make it right and reconcile, often the offender doesn't want to reconcile even if you try --

Jennifer Rothschild: True.

K.C. Wright: -- so then you're stuck. So let's stay on the path of -- here's an R word -- reality for a little longer.

So what's another way, Jen, we behave when we're treated wrong?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, I'll stay with the letter R, resent. We resent. So if we don't reconcile, we end up holding on to that hurt for way too long, you know, because we've rehearsed it. And so we hold on to it for so long that we begin to resent the violator, the person who did us wrong. We seethe. You know what I'm saying. Our resentment starts to build this image of who they are, and it ain't pretty. We just expect the worst. So no matter what they say, we hear it through the ears of resentment and we question even their best qualities and their good stuff because everything we see is filtered through the lens of resentment.

And then we can end up with another R, rejecting the person. And that's the fifth way that we behave when someone does us wrong. We reject them. We're done. We're done. We just have a mental and emotional funeral; you are dead to me now.

Okay, so let's pause for a minute. How does all that sound? I mean, except for the one K.C. mentioned, being able to reconcile, how do those other choices sound? Do they sound productive? Do they sound healthy?

K.C. Wright: One disclaimer though. One disclaimer.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

K.C. Wright: We are being very general here. And we just want to put this in your ears right now, that there are certain hurts, violations, offenses that are really damaging or dangerous --

Jennifer Rothschild: True.

K.C. Wright: -- and do require boundaries and wise counsel.

Jennifer Rothschild: True.

K.C. Wright: So filter what we are saying through wisdom and ask Holy Spirit, "Holy Spirit, guide me to see what fits and applies." But even if your situation requires boundaries, these spiritual choices we're talking about today can still apply. So, Jennifer, how do you behave when someone treats you wrong? I'm sorry I'm laughing. I always joke with Jennifer, you know, "Don't you make me take off my heels."

Jennifer Rothschild: You do. That's true. How do we behave?

K.C. Wright: How do we behave?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Well, let me tell you this, K.C. So my brother Lawson, he's a therapist. And one of the things he used to say often was what if you consider it your opposite impulse. Okay? So when you're feeling the surge of emotions and you want to retaliate or you want to retreat, or whatever it is, consider your opposite impulse. So I thought I would go through that list I just gave you, all those R's, and let's attach an opposite response to each. Like, what would the opposite of each be, and how would it change things?

Okay, so I mentioned that one of the ways I handle when someone treats me wrong is I retreat. Okay? So what would that opposite be? Instead of retreating, the opposite of that would be to move toward the person. Instead of pulling back, you move toward. Now, by the way, I am not saying this is what we should do, I'm saying this is what you need to consider. Okay? You move toward them. You don't hide, but you allow yourself to stay visible, to stay involved. And it takes courage. And as K.C. already mentioned, with boundaries it takes wisdom. It doesn't mean that you keep knocking on their door and you're enabling a dysfunctional relationship to continue to grow, but you don't just totally retreat and block them and unfollow them and let them die to you; you remain open. All right?

Now let's consider some more. So stay with me here. Okay? I mentioned retaliating. That's how a lot of us react when we have been treated poorly. So what would the opposite of that be? All right? Rather than retaliating, rather than pushing back, what if you let go? What if you choose to just not get back at them? You let go. Even if that punk deserves it, you restrain. You don't try to get back. You turn the other cheek. Something to consider.

All right, third one. You rehearse. All right? Rehearse. You rehearse everything they've done wrong. What would the opposite impulse be to rehearsing? What would be the opposite choice? Instead of constantly reviewing the offense, you throw away the script that you constantly review. You stop looking at all the pictures of all the hurt because love doesn't keep a record of wrong. So what if you were willing to throw away that script? What would that do? I mean, out of love for Christ, you stop rehearsing. Consider that. All right?

Another one, the fourth one. And by the way, I said there were five earlier because K.C. mentioned reconcile. I'm just going with the four negative choices here. So the fourth one is to resent. All right? You resent, right? Put simply, the opposite of resenting is showing love and kindness. So instead of resenting, you show love and you show kindness.

K.C. Wright: So good. This is the Word. I mean, you're giving them the Word.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, this is biblical concept here, yeah.

K.C. Wright: It is. And a little bit of it is an ouch hallelujah, but we want to be doers of the Word, not hears only.

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right.

K.C. Wright: And remember, God says only two things belong to God. Only two things belong to him. The tithe and vengeance. So on number two, retaliate, don't do that.

Jennifer Rothschild: No.

K.C. Wright: God will have the last word. He'll take care of it.

So as I listen to those opposite impulses, I'm wondering here, do they sound like good biblical choices?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: They do.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, they do.

K.C. Wright: But they're hard.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: But the thing is, if we avoid what is hard, we miss out on what is good, truly good, what is good for us.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, what God has intended for us.

You know, if you think about Peter, remember Peter in the Bible, he knew what it was like to face opposition. Okay? And he did not always handle it well. You can remember some of the instances in his life he retaliated. Remember he would lash out in anger when he cut off the servant's ear? Remember there? He was angry; he retaliated. But he also retreated. He drew back in fear. Remember when he was in the courtyard right before the rooster crowed? And so as an older man, Peter wrote a letter, and that's what we're going to look at. It's in 1 Peter, to fellow sufferers, people who were experiencing opposition, people who were not being treated right, and he did this to show them ways to handle it, ways to handle being treated poorly. And so I'm just going to call these three ways to act right when you've been treated wrong. Okay? And they are in 1 Peter.

So the first one is this: resist payback. In other words, don't retaliate.

K.C. so would you read some of these passages for us from 1 Peter.

K.C. Wright: 1 Peter 3:9. "Do not repay evil with evil, insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing. For to this you were called so you may inherit the blessing." We get a blessing when we live this way. But, you know, even if we didn't get a blessing, we do this because it's what Jesus did --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, absolutely.

K.C. Wright: -- and we are Jesus' followers.

1 Peter 2:22-23, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." Verse 23, "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly."

Jennifer Rothschild: I mean, really do we need to say anything else, K.C.?

K.C. Wright: No.

Jennifer Rothschild: I mean, that's the example of Christ. He did not retaliate.

K.C. Wright: Oh, my goodness.

Jennifer Rothschild: So we resist payback also.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right. Second -- this might be hard for you, so get humble quickly. Repent if you need to. Okay? You resist payback for sure. But listen 4:13ers, all of us, there are times we just need to repent. And we know when those times are.

K.C., could you read some more from 1 Peter for us to see what I'm talking about.

K.C. Wright: 1 Peter 4:15-16. "If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or a thief or any kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed; but praise God that you bear that name." Wow.

You know, sometimes we suffer and we get treated wrong because we've blown it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: Our own choices. Yeah. You know the rest of the story. We are the ones who are wrong at times, so we just need to repent. And if that's the case, sometimes we need to take an honest look at the situation and ask, okay, is it me? Do I need to look in the mirror at myself? Do I need to repent instead of resent or retaliate?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep. All right, third one -- I'm not even going to say any more about that because you all know K.C. said it well. It's true right there.

All right. Third, we keep trusting God and we do the right thing. Okay? So you resist payback, you repent if you need to, and then third, you keep trusting God and do the next right thing. Okay, this is from 1 Peter 4. K.C., could you please read that.

K.C. Wright: "So then those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." Man. It's hard to make those better choices, those biblical choices, and I don't know how you can unless you make one hard choice first, and that is forgive. And, Jen, I've said this for years now. I cannot hold unforgiveness toward anyone for even a half a second when I need Christ to forgive me.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: I have no option. I don't have an option to hold unforgiveness against anyone, because I need forgiveness for my stuff.

Jennifer Rothschild: All the time.

K.C. Wright: The ultimate way to behave right, when someone treats you wrong, is simply to forgive. And here's the promise. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he" -- God -- "is faithful to forgive us of all our sins and to cleanse us from all" -- not some, but all -- "unrighteousness."

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. So that's the standard. That's the standard. And so really, forgiveness is the ultimate way to behave right? But it's not always our first impulse. It really isn't. Maybe it's because forgiveness by nature is unselfish. Like, if I forgive, then I can't focus on my injuries or my hurts anymore. You know, I can't focus on me. And when I'm really hurt, it's my tendency. I just want to focus on me. I want to lick my wounds, I want to soothe me, I want to vindicate me when someone violates me.

But my friend Stormie Omartian, she says, "Forgiveness does not make the other person right; forgiveness makes you free." And so it's important for us just to do what the Bible says, is to forgive. Just like K.C. said, in a half second he forgives because he knows how much he needs God's forgiveness. And here's the thing, my friend. Forgiveness does not make you weak, and it doesn't make the other person right. It makes you mature. You do not need to use unforgiveness as a form of self-protection. You can be selfless and you can trust that God will be your shield.

K.C. Wright: I think another reason we don't jump straight into forgiveness is because forgiveness isn't fair.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: It doesn't feel fair, they don't deserve it. Do you know what they did to me? Right?

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right.

K.C. Wright: And you know what? It's true, they don't deserve forgiveness. But here's the thing. I don't deserve forgiveness either. So you don't deserve forgiveness, I don't deserve forgiveness, but mercy says we don't get what we deserve.

Jennifer Rothschild: Amen.

K.C. Wright: None of us do. And grace says we get what we could never deserve. So because we got grace and mercy from God, we give it to others, and that means forgiveness.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. So we're just making this very simple, y'all. And hard, right?

K.C. Wright: Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: To behave right, you forgive. To walk in that behavior of forgiveness, that means we repent if we need to. And we refuse every time resentment and rehearsing and retaliating and retreating tempt us. So if someone is treating you wrong, here's a thought: return a blessing, either in your mind or in kindness. And why do I say that? Because by doing good, you silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Did you get that? You silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. That's what the Bible says. K.C., you've got the verse there in 1 Peter.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, 1 Peter 2:15 says, "For it is God's will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people."

Now, let me skip up a chapter and read from 1 Peter 3:9. Listen to this. It comes with a promise. "Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing." Ooh, that's an upside-down kingdom. That is what God has called you to do. And here's the promise: He will grant you his blessing.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it's interesting to me that when God is asking you to give a blessing, the goal is you're going to receive a blessing. So we don't want to miss out on that blessing by making lesser choices. We don't want to make poor choices, because we are the ones who will actually miss out.

You know, K.C., what we've talked about reminds me a lot of Shaunti Feldhahn's research on how to show kindness. We've had her on the podcast before. But she has a book called "The Kindness Challenge." And in her book "The Kindness Challenge," she gives some very practical ways to return a blessing. Because I know -- like, if you're hurt right now and you're hearing this, you're like, "Well, how do I return a blessing? I don't even want to see their face." Okay? These are some ways that Shaunti gives in her book, ways to act right when you've been wronged.

One, she says you say nothing negative about that person, you know, that person who feels like your enemy. You say nothing negative about them, either to them or about them. So it means you're just not talking trash about them all the time and you're not talking poorly toward them. That's hard to do, I understand, when you're hurt, but that is a way to return a blessing -- okay? -- so that you will be blessed.

Second way she suggests is that you find one thing that you can praise or affirm when it comes to that person. Okay? And I know you might think they're just a dirty, rotten scoundrel, but there is one thing that is good about them that you can find. And you can praise that, you can affirm that, whether it's to them or about them or you just think about it. But that's a way to return a blessing.

Another way that Shaunti suggests is that you do something kind for that person. You do something kind. Now, I get it, you may have nothing to do with them and it may be such a difficult situation that boundaries keep you from actually doing something kind. But you can speak kindly of them, you can pray blessing over them. You can do something kind. You ask the Holy Spirit to give you creativity as to what you could do that would be kind.

All right, 4:13ers, listen, I know that a lot of what we talked about was a lot to absorb, especially if your feelings are swirling because this is a tender topic for you. We really do get it. Okay? So go to the show notes at so that you can read a full transcript of what K.C. and I have talked about. That will be a way that you can just process and review. And you can also review this and see the Scriptures, because I know K.C. read a lot of Scriptures, and I want you to be able to review those Scriptures.

K.C. Wright: Jennifer, I'll never forget a very popular minister, who had been in the ministry for over 60 years, and he was known for never talking about anybody else. And he was hurt publicly, and the news media rushed to his home office to get his response to how this other minister had hurt him. And with the cameras rolling and microphones in front of him, here was his response: "Blowing out someone else's candle never made yours any brighter."

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. Wow.

K.C. Wright: I've been thinking about that while we've been doing this podcast.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's such a good image.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

So, our people, we know this was a lot to absorb, and it may seem like a hard way to live. It's like I say, an ouch hallelujah. But no matter how hard this seems, remember you and I can do this because you can do all things through Christ who gives you supernatural strength. I can.

Jennifer Rothschild: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: (Singing) This little light of my mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

K.C. Wright: Come on.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I'm not going to blow out anybody else's.


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