When something or someone hurts us deeply, it can be detrimental to a relationship. When things fall apart at the seams, sometimes we quit speaking altogether. We often go our separate ways, wallowing in hurt and discontent. We voice our anguish to anyone who will listen because we have been scorned. What happens during the aftermath of nuclear fallout in a relationship is often worse than the explosion itself, but what should we do?
Being betrayed by someone you trusted is a universal experience. I can remember as early as five or six years old when my best friend called another girl her best friend and we didn’t talk for weeks! Petty? Maybe. But, we all experience different levels of betrayal and pain. How do we respond to it biblically? Why should we even try?
The answer is simple: we forgive because we have been forgiven; it’s literally what Jesus would do.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:32
God desires reconciliation because we have been reconciled to Him through Jesus. What that means is people deserve a clean slate because we are all human; we are bound to make mistakes. That’s an unintended divide between two people as a result of an offensive action. That, however, is quite different from intentional malice. The downright awfulness that cuts like a sword and MEANS to cause pain.
I bet you know that pain, you’ve wholeheartedly experienced it and in some ways it still makes your heart race, your face turn red, and steam shoots out your ears like a Saturday morning cartoon character. You try not to think about it but it eats away at you, and you say things like “I’m so over it” when you’re clearly not over it. Part of you wished their life would fall into ruin because a piece of yours was ruined the day they hurt you. Truthfully, you’re not over it and you still care, because if you didn’t care it wouldn’t hurt. I’ve had several instances where friendships have fallen apart. The ones that hurt the most are the closest ones to you, and because they know so much about you it’s easy to know what to say to really push their buttons. Maybe you’re to blame, maybe they are. Who cares?! That tugging at your heart, the pang in your chest when someone mentions them in passing… It’s not getting any easier, is it?
Reconciliation is actually very important to God. It’s so important, in fact, God wants you to mend things before coming to Him, if you’ve hurt someone else.
“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
– Matthew 5:23-24
God desires the mending of broken relationships because, before we knew Him, our relationship with Him was also broken.
That feeling when you finally patch things up is such a relief. You know the other person felt it too; the separation that just wasn’t quite right. The fear that comes with putting yourself out there with an “I’m sorry. Can we talk?” All while wondering if they’ll even read it, even respond. It’s all you can do just to hit send…and then you wait. Once I literally waited months for a response, but when it came there was so much joy and relief! This amazing person I had missed out on because of months of our own selfishness was finally back!
THAT is what God desires for his people, and that’s exactly how he sees each one of us. It’s okay now, you have been brought back together out of the separation that caused so much pain. So reach out, tell your friend you miss them and you want to smooth things over. Don’t miss any more valuable time!
You can’t undo the past but you can make the future so much better.
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