It happened again. Someone said something that hurt and the pain lingered. It didn't matter whether it was inadvertent or if an apology was immediately forthcoming. I still hurt. And I wondered why I couldn't just shake it off, get over it. While I pondered this, an answer came to me: I had a soul bruise.
I define a soul bruise as lingering pain caused by another person's words or actions - words or actions that really hurt, whether they meant them to or not. And just like a physical bruise takes time to heal, so does a soul bruise. There are things that speed up healing, such as an apology and forgiveness, but , barring God's miraculous intervention, I will need time to get over the hurting.
This is not the same as nursing a wound or holding a grudge. It's just pain that is not resolved. I forgave the other person, yet I still hurt sometimes. Like a bruise on my body, when something puts pressure on my soul bruise, the pain is worse. (And often, once the initial impact has lessened, I only feel the pain when something puts pressure on what's hurting in me.)
The good news is that soul bruises do heal and fade. Some take longer than others, but they all do heal in time. And one day soon I will look back and realize that I no longer hurt, even when something has put pressure on where my wound once was. God will heal all of my hurts. I must trust Him and give Him time to work.
A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice. ~ Isaiah 42:3