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Hurt People Hurt People

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Brad Dourif is an actor who, as a young man, played Billy Bibbit, a mental hospital patient in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Bibbit was an innocent, stuttering patient. Dourif was amazing in that role. Bibbit is vulnerable and becomes deeply traumatized by the malic…
By sethbarnes
Grima
Brad Dourif is an actor who, as a young man, played Billy Bibbit, a mental hospital patient in the 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Bibbit was an innocent, stuttering patient.
Dourif was amazing in that role. Bibbit is vulnerable and becomes deeply traumatized by the malicious action of another character in the film. Thinking about him, I thought, “It’s been about 50 years since he played the Bibbit role, I wonder what he did with his life?”
So I googled Dourif and what a surprise! I learned that he was best known for playing evil characters during his career. He voiced Chucky in the Child’s Play franchise and Gríma Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings
I thought about that transition of roles – from an innocent and vulnerable young man to a malevolent, evil old man. How does such a character arc happen?
You see it in shows like Breaking Bad as a high school chemistry teacher contracts cancer, begins to traffic in meth, and ends his life as a tragic character. I remember Saddam Hussein’s oldest son, Uday. As a child he was described as “cheerful and bright child, responsive to discipline.”
But Uday grew up in a violent environment and over time became “erratically ruthless and intimidating to perceived adversaries as well as to close friends.”
Understanding that hurt people hurt people helps me to look at others differently.
Too many of us started out innocent, were deeply wounded and have never healed. Our wound becomes a source of pain that spills out onto the other people in their lives. We’re the walking wounded.

It may explain things you find broken in yourself. The biblical basis is Exodus 34:7, which describes how God will visit the consequences of sin to the third and fourth generation.

The wounds we receive when we are most vulnerable become access points for evil in the same way that a physical wound can become infected. And many of these “spiritual infections” never heal. They are tender to the touch.

Understanding this phenomenon, we have the opportunity to become wounded healers. We have the choice to respond with grace. When we encounter rude people, we don’t excuse the rudeness, but we recognize that the behavior is probably protecting a wound that needs ministry. We choose to follow Christ’s example and forgive.

Think about the people in your life who have hurt you. Have you forgiven them, or do you potentially transmit the pain of your relationship with them elsewhere?

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