Unintentional Hurts

So far this year, I’ve only broken two toes. It happens innocently enough. As I’m pouring out a bucket of feed into the bunk feeders, one of my cows will get excited and there goes another one. In their zeal to get the first mouthful, they’ll inadvertently step on my foot. Not long ago, my sweet “Aunt Louise” stepped onto my right boot before I could get out of her way.

My muck boots aren’t steel-toed, so it smarted a considerable amount. I stumbled backward and fell into the mud, which meant the bucket of feed went flying and “Weezy” (as I call her) pressed forward toward me, looking concerned. Of course, that served to increase the pressure and force on my right foot.

After I steadied myself, I tried to pull my throbbing foot from beneath her front hoof. Wasn’t happening! So after yelling a few not-so-Christian words (I forgot I knew some of those), I did what any rancher would do. I punched her right in the nose. Not enough to cause harm, but enough to get her attention and cause her to back away.

As she lifted her front leg in retreat, my foot felt like one of those cartoon characters whose foot gets ran over by a steam roller. I hobbled through the rest of my feeding chores, dreading having to pull my boot off when I got back to the house. Would it be bloody? Bruised? Broken? I didn’t know, but knew that rascal was hurtin’ pretty good.

I couldn’t be angry with my beloved mama cow; she’s given me the blessing of five beautiful healthy calves, of which I’ve been doubly blessed by two of them adding four more calves to the herd. Later that morning, I went back out and rubbed her head while I apologized for smacking her. She lowed her acceptance and happily ate the treat I offered her.

A few weeks later, in another pasture, her son “Giuseppe” did the same thing on my left foot. It was a good reminder to always keep your head on a swivel when you’re working around large animals. They can hurt you when they do the most normal things if you’re not prepared for it. When you’ve had cow slobber flung all over you before breakfast or one knock you off your feet as they swing their head to swat at a fly you’ll understand.

Have you considered in what ways you might unintentionally harm those around us? Share on X

Thinking about how my carelessness resulted in some broken toes this year, which isn’t the first time, God revealed some important truths in my life. Within my spirit I heard, “How many times and in how many different ways do you unintentionally hurt others?” It made me think about how not all hurts are physical. In my life, some of my greatest scars are emotional.

I asked God right then and there to reveal to me how I have unintentionally hurt others in the past. Some of what He revealed was shocking, and led me to repentance. They included:

  • Poor attempts at humor. How often have I tried to make a joke about someone, only to hurt their feelings or make them feel ridiculed or singled out? I wasn’t being funny, I was being mean.
  • Being worldly. As a Christian, whenever I allow my sinful human nature to rule over me and I act in a worldly manner (thoughts, actions, and words), I harm my Christian testimony. I can’t be an effective Ambassador for Christ when I behave like every other sinner. Where’s Christ if other don’t see Him in me?
  • Putting my mouth in motion before my brain is in gear. Oh how many times I’ve been guilty of this. I voice my opinion, often unsolicited, before I filter it through God’s word. Often, after it’s been said, I feel as bad for saying it as those around me who heard my outburst. Another example is when I feel I have to show I’m the smartest person in the room. In reality, I’m only being far too proud.

I think we’re all guilty of these unintentional hurts from time-to-time, but the difference we can make is in our desire to correct them. Too often, we shrug it off; or we justify it by saying, “They’re just thin-skinned or have no sense of humor.” What we as Christians should do is to go that that person and ask their forgiveness; and then go to God and seek His help in improving our behavior.

As I was praying on this, God reminded me of His words in Psalms 37:23 and 119:133-136. I pray you also consider how your steps can be more measured each day so we avoid causing those unintentional hurts in another’s life.

God’s blessings,



Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.


58 thoughts on “Unintentional Hurts”

  1. We’ll said, J.D. Great visual for how we unintentionally wound those around us. My head is on swivel as I watch to be sure I don’t step on anyone today. Many thanks for the reminder.

  2. Jeannie Waters

    J.D., thank you for your transparency and the reminder to be cautious and “filter what we say through God’s Word.” I know I need to do that more.

    1. I can’t imagine your ever hurting anyone with your words my gentle friend; but it’s important to remember that we are all human (as much as we wish we weren’t some days). And I agree, we need that godly filter in our lives. Thank you so much for adding to our conversation today ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. Ann. I too believe we all do act in these ways, and others. Do we always realize it? In my case, not as often as I should perhaps. Back to my “give yourself grace” theme perhaps, but remembering we’re not perfect, but we strive to become more like the One who is each day helps. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  3. As always your message is godly and clear! The saying, “Hurt people hurt people” seems to apply in most people’s lives. We all hurt and get hurt. Learning to not take offense is something we all need to put into practice.

    1. Very true my friend. This where the spiritual gifts of kindness and self-control comes in. How often do we lash out because we’ve been hurt? What a great question to consider, “Why am I acting this way?” Amen!

  4. Guilty as charged, J. D. I know I’ve caused others unintentional hurts over the years, but I always hope and pray that Jesus continues to work in me to help me ask forgiveness of others and to forgive myself.

  5. Yes, I’ve pulled a Weezy on every single count. Oh, that feeling of regret! I so appreciate this reminder to consider my words and actions–particularly on days when I’m feeling less well.

    Blessings to you,

  6. I think everyone should read this message. We need to pause and think and pray before we speak. Words can lift others up or bring them down. I know I have spoken too quickly and felt awful as soon as the words left my mouth. I pray I will let God lead my words and actions. 🙂

    1. Aww… Thank you Ms. Melissa. Our words can be our most harmful weapon sometimes; that’s for sure ma’am. I join you in that prayer each morning my sweet friend.

  7. I’ve had a shod horse hoof on my foot before! OWW! Fortunately a big shove got it off. Wow. It hurt for days. I also got a horse’s shod hoof slam into my thigh once (a few of those unChristlike words!) Big animals are wonderful to have, but you have to be on alert, like you said.
    And I sometimes try to be funny, when deep down inside i know I’m being mean. Apologizing is hard, but the sweet relief afterwards.

  8. Edwina Cowgill

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’ve been spying on me! Often, my mouth speaks before my brain kicks in! But, I’m learning! I’m learning to stop and think before I speak and stop and think before I act. Sometimes that works and sometimes…

  9. As you say, we’ve all inflicted unintentional hurts, but you’ve reminded us to be “intentional” in not sending these painful darts. I’m most guilty of the “starting mouth running before putting brain in gear” (as dear Farmer Bob used to say). With God’s help, I’ve gotten better at thinking before I speak. Probably the one that’s been most hurtful to me is sarcasm–when people use the excuse of “just kidding” when they say hurtful things. Thank you for reminding us to speak with words of love. Blessings, my friend.

    1. Amen Ms. Katherine. Didn’t everyone’s grandparents tell them, “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” Sure wish I could finally learn that lesson.

  10. Another blessed romp around the ranch, spiritual lessons in rich supply! Give Weezy a hug from Mary. Let her know I appreciate her concern for you, leaning forward to see about you the way she did. Poor dear! I am pretty quick to apologize for the unintentional hurts where I’ve been made aware. It’s the willful ones that God has to prod me to accept and seek forgiveness for.

    1. I sure will Ms. Mary. I’m not sure if she leaned in to see how I was or if she was hoping she could reach the spilled feed. 🙂 I want to believe it was her motherly instincts kicking in. You and me both on those willful ones ma’am.

    1. Thank you, but please note I was stepping on my own too my friend. 🙂 Sometimes I think God leads us to write and speak words to help Him convict others and ourselves. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  11. Ooh, you’re so right about this. Too bad that this lesson had to be at the expense of your two toes. I’m guilty of this too, often because my motive is misplaced and I didn’t think it through first. Usually, it’s directed at those closest to me. Psalm 19:14 is frequently my prayer: Let the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength & my Redeemer. Thanks for your candid sharing.

    1. Amen! I love that prayerful verse too Ms. Dottie. I wish that I was more effective and controlling my mouth, but as God’s word tells us “Our mouths reveal what is in our hearts” (Luke 6:45, paraphrased). When I start finding this happening in my life, and I find it more often than I care to admit sometimes, it reveals that I need to do some “deep cleaning” of my heart through prayer and repentance. Thank you so much for sharing with us ma’am.

  12. Great lesson, J.D., as usual from the Cross Dubya! I’ve never had a cow step on my toe, but I’ve surely been on the giving as well as the receiving end of hurtful words. It hurts both ways! I’m praying that my words can be filtered through the Holy Spirit before they come out of my mouth and also that I can be quick to forgive those who might hurt me with theirs. None of us is perfect, after all, but the important thing is to practice love both ways!

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. It is when we think, speak, and act in love (both in receiving and giving) that we find many of those unintentional hurts go away. Amen my friend!

  13. I have to be careful about stress creating unintentional hurts. I start to retreat into a self-centered bubble at times and find myself lashing out from minor offenses. There are few times I mean for my hurt to be intentional, but your blog is a reminder that we should always be on guard.

    1. Oh yes ma’am, stress can most definitely trigger us to strike out. When we’re stressed (at least for me), our emotions are more high and seem to be running on high octane fuel. It happens more often than it should for me, but am learning that when I start feeling stressed, I try and remove myself from that situation (if only momentarily) and go to God to ask for His peace to well up inside me instead.

  14. I have a split toenail on my big toe from being stepped on by my horse (I was barefooted at the time) and then as the blackened toenail grew out in about 6-weeks, the same toe was stepped on by a dairy cow just shifting her weight in the milking stall. Forty years later, the visual evidence is still there.

    Those mental scars and hurts can last even longer when we’ve been “stepped on” or did the “stepping” onto someone else. This draws us up close and shows how we often don’t line up with the way God expects us to. I’m more concern for the “stepping” I’ve done to others than the times I’ve been “stepped” on. Father, forgive me for inflicting hurt to others!

    1. So very true Mr. Ben. Our emotional scars never quite leave us do they? And sometimes the same is true with physical hurts. My Ms. Diane and I chuckled recently about her most recent surgery and the scars it left behind. We said, “the scars on our bodies are the roadmap of our lives.” The neat thing about scars is that very few of them cause pain. Once healed, they no longer hurt. The memories that caused them can, but I’ve found that in forgiveness of some pretty deep hurts in my life, God has removed the pain. Like the scar, the memories are still there, but the past can’t hurt us when we know our future. 🙂 God’s blessings my friend.

  15. Many responses this morning, sir. It shows how effective your time with God is. I once heard humor is always at the expense of someone. I’m not sure how good I am, but I have consciously chosen not to use humor if I’ve taken the time to T H I N K.

    1. Amen Mr. Warren. T-H-I-N-K indeed sir. I shared about post about that very acrostic not long ago (going to have to go find that and share it with you). Thank you so much for adding to our conversation sir.

  16. Thank you for your transparency, J.D. I know that I’m guilty of unintentionally hurting others and I hate it. I’m thankful for the Lord’s grace and forgiveness and pray that those I’ve hurt have forgiven me as well.

    1. Absolutely Ms. LuAnn! Forgiveness trumps all my friend. I often pray that others I’ve hurt can forgive me, and if not that God help them to learn to forgive. Also important, is our willingness to forgive ourselves. God is consistently reminding me this days to allow myself to accept His grace (a better was of saying we need to give ourselves grace, as I’ve learned it’s not mine to give). God’s blessings sweet friend.

  17. Such a good post with wise words. Sometimes our words are heard through another’s wounded filter. And what we said, gets heard a bit differently than it was intended. We do need to be aware, read the body language, and come to them in humility. Thanks for this J.D. Yes, we are tracking in our thoughts this week

    1. So very true Ms. Jeanne. AMEN ma’am! What we may have intended may never reach its target the way we intended it to. We can’t always know what another is feeling or what “baggage/burden” they might be carrying. For this reason, I join in what so many others here have echoed in their comments. We must ask the Holy Spirit’s help in guarding our mouths and guiding our spirits to be more attuned to Him. What a great addition to our conversation ma’am. Thank you so much.

    1. Boy am I right there with you ma’am. I think perhaps what I struggle with the most. The key though, is that we continue in the struggle isn’t it? God’s blessings my dear friend.

  18. Love your stories from the ranch, J.D. And “ouch!” about the toes! I sure relate to hurting other people in emotional ways unintentionally. And there’s this, “Putting my mouth in motion before my brain is in gear.” Why, yes, I do that too. 🙂

    1. I’m right there with you Ms. Karen. It’s good to know we’re in this struggle with others my friend. And knowing that our greatest cheerleader and Comforter sits at the right hand of God makes our journey even sweeter my friend. He’s rooting for us!

  19. I just finished praying about how to handle a certain situation, and then I thought, “I should read brother J.D.’s post.” Sure enough, the Lord showed me through your message exactly what I need to do. It takes humility to apologize and ask for forgiveness, but by God’s grace, He’ll give me what I need to do just that. Thank you for sharing biblical truth. Blessings to you in Christ!

    1. “Thank You Lord, for using me to help others find You!” What a humbling comment Ms. Emily. Thank you so much for reminding me that this is why we write; so that others might find the message, encouragement, guidance, and hope that God wants for them. God’s blessings ma’am.

  20. Those hurt feet are great examples of how much we can hurt other people without meaning to. Your cows love you and didn’t know they hurt you; we can do the same thing if we are not careful. Thank you for sharing, J.D., and I hope your toes healed well!

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. They’ve (the broken toes) have healed, but the aches, stiff joints, etc. I often wake up with remind me of past hurts/injuries. Sometimes our memories do also. And yes, it’s so very true that we seldom intentionally seek to hurt someone, but those “unintentional” hurts can slip out if we’re not constantly guarding against it. At least in my case it seems. 🙂 Thank you again for adding such value to our conversation ma’am.

  21. Oh, such wisdom from your poor stepped-on toes, and it hit close to home as I’m so prone to those same ways of hurting others, even though I didn’t mean to. Thanks for sharing your insights from the Cross Dubya!

    1. Absolutely Ms. Kathy. It’s comforting somehow to know that we’re not the only one who struggles with those kinds of unintentional hurts. Praise God He is there to help us overcome the hurt we sometimes cause.

    1. Awww shucks! Thank you Ms. Beckie. Am so honored you made time during your recovery to read my post ma’am, what an honor. I pray it was as much a blessing to you as your comments are to me. I can’t wait to see my #WarriorPrincessForJesus friend fully healed and re-engaged. Whether this side of heaven or the other, what a celebration it will be! God’s blessings and get lots of rest while Mr. Scott nurses you back to a picture of health my friend.

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