A person I considered a friend betrayed me this week. At first I thought I had misunderstood her intent, that somehow I’d gotten our wires crossed. But as I sifted through recent conversations, e-mails and other encounters I realized that she’d been slowly moving this direction for a while. As reality raised its ugly head, I knew I’d been had.
We were, in a way, opposites. Perhaps that is where the problem lay. She’s all glitz and glamour. I’m down to earth. But we had shared some good times together and I’d worked diligently to uphold my half of the relationship. Now, though, we were clearly on separate paths. She’d sidestepped my inquiries and taken her own route, leaving me out of the loop.
It stung. I wish I could tell you I immediately went to my knees and asked God to bless her in coming days. But I didn’t. My first thoughts were how I could retaliate. I was hurt and so should she. I thought of all the things I could do to punish her. I wasn’t nice.
When I came up for air from my ranting, I realized this had happened on a Monday, a day I routinely reserve for fasting and prayer. And behind me, gently whispering over my shoulder, came the distinct voice of God, “Ahem!” I sighed. I’d been caught and I knew I would have to seek forgiveness.
I don’t know how God operates in your life, but when I tell him my inner hurts and misfortunes He always brings me to His word. As I poured out my broken feelings He guided me to the temple where Peter betrayed Him three times before the rooster crowed. Ouch! I knew how much that must have grieved the Lord. He showed me again the actions of Judas who turned Him over to the Pharisees. I then went to my study of Jeremiah and read about the denials of His chosen people, people who repeatedly ignored Him.
I knew what I had to do. I went to my knees and thanked Him for His control of my life. I asked Him to bless this woman in her endeavors. I also forgave her. Though our relationship will never be the same, I hold no ill will toward her.
I thank God for this experience. I’m certain this woman and I will continue to relate to each other occasionally. But because I have forgiven her, I will not behave in a way that will offend her. Christ loved Judas, even though He knew what the man would do. Christ looked lovingly upon Peter and the compassion Peter saw in the Lord’s eyes sent the man from the temple in tears. The betrayal of the Israelite people didn’t stop God from continuing to love them.
His example will guide me in my relationships not only with her, but with others. The experience also made me weigh the friendships I have in a new light, observing them through a filter I’d not had before. With God’s love to guide me, I grew through the experience. No cat fights, no falling out, just a gentle moving on to new relationships God will guide me through. Walking with Him smoothes what might otherwise be a rocky path, to loving people through Him.
2 Replies to “Friendships require forgiveness”
I too had an old friend betray me recently. Although I’ve tried for years to get her to church I’ve never been able to penetrate her highly educated philosophical beliefs. But since we’ve been friends doe forty years, I didn’t care. I stayed overnight with her on a recent trip to her area. During my whole trip I had not turned my back on my wallet but that morning she asked me to shower at the back of the house in the master bedroom because she said there was something wrong with the front one. While I was gone, well over $300 disappeared from my wallet. I knew she was behind on her mortgage and worried but had no idea I couldn’t trust her after 40 years. Do not lay your pearls before swine. Isn’t that what it says? Guess I blew it. And having to forgive her has been difficult since she emails acting like nothing happened. So I concur. Forgiveness is hard. But I also believe we are supposed to forgive but I have found nothing that says we have to forget. So I won’t be putting myself in that position again and I probably won’t be visiting her again either. I had to cut my trip so short that I didn’t get to see my two daughters. Hard blow. Abigail Blue
Well said, Pat. And can’t we ALL relate to the first so-human response of considering revenge?
I’m thankful the Lord slows us down until we listen, repent and leave the one who wounds us in His hands.
To me, that’s true forgiveness–to give up ALL our plans for revenge and let Him administer the justice our hearts long for.
And yes, we forgive, but don’t need to stay where we can be hurt again.