Welcome to the first post on this blog. Future accounts will have a less personal approach but today’s blog is inspired by recent events in my life, although from studying what I need to do, I hope others will learn something out of this too.
Last week I lost a friend. And the strange thing is this isn’t the first time this has happened with this person. I’m not going to into great personal detail, but I don’t want you also thinking the other party is a terrible person. We both played roles in the lead up to this and in the end there was confusion and lying, I lost my temper and they removed contact from me. The bottom line is, the relationship has been lost and hurts to deal with.
I am quite older than I was when this happened the first time, also my knowledge in Christ is much deeper therefore my approach is not going to be similar to that of the past. I need to find a way to get over this hurt and confusion but to do it in a way that leads me back to Christ. Inspired by a post here http://simplyheavenlyfood.tumblr.com/post/23155767773/if-love-never-fails-does-that-mean-isnt-possible I need to understand what love is, how it was used, how it was abused or even if it was there at all?
My next step is to understand and apply forgiveness; why should I forgive, am I forgiven, how do we carry out that action. This then relates back to what we’re doing for Christ in our actions. Is it possible to make amends? Do I have fellowship? And lastly where am I going to go with this experience.
First Corinthians 13:4-7 explains
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Already I have my failed my friend (or ex friend) because I selfishly tried to remove myself from the suffering and with my words I was not kind. I was proud (puffed up), I was rude and gave in to a lack of self-control. While I may have been speaking of true things, it was in an attitude that was not acceptable and by no means loving. After promises I had made as a friend, doing this I became a hypocrite. The love which I had promise, I abused, and in the end I also abused God’s own creation.
So what about the other party? Were they acting in a loving manner? I pray that they are too learning from this experience and the main reason behind my irrational behaviour was because they did not seem loving. I will spare the details but it is only fair to say we both had done wrongs here. But despite the dishonesty (and whatever lacking virtue) I should have remained gracious and gave rather than take and abuse. What else is love? Well we know God is love (1 John 4:8) and what is the greatest act He did for us? He died to forgive our sins. So in forgiveness we also show and give love.
I have forgiven my friend. Has my friend forgiven me? I am not sure, but even so, it doesn’t matter, because Christ has already given me forgiveness and a gift from God triumphs anything that any other human can provide. I may not be on good terms with them right now but even if I don’t receive graciousness from them, I still have God to cling to. In the link above it also discusses whether the love you have for someone is temporary (infatuation or selfishness) or is actual love (maybe even unconditional love). During my breakup I was not showing acts of love, but when the Spirit moved through me days later I realised I do in fact still love this person – and I don’t necessarily mean romantic here but just in a friendship/sisterly way. That even though despite the confusion and hurt I can still see how great this person is and has been to me. For a little extra (not a long read) on forgiveness visit here http://www.simplyheavenlyfood.com/2014/07/word-of-day-july-19-2014.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=tumblr
So usually without a religious perspective when someone has a friendship breakup one of their first ideas is to make amends with someone, which I guess usually just means asking for another chance in order to try to be a better friend, but let’s look at what amends actually means. It means:
“Compensate or make up for a wrongdoing.”
Let’s back it up a little. Does that mean to make amends we will be partaking in actions in order to earn forgiveness of another or to give something to satisfy them? As Christians can we do that? Well in my perspective you shouldn’t and can’t. Because what’s the first thing we know about forgiveness? It’s a gift! We don’t earn forgiveness, and we can’t win someone else’s heart onto our side. We work through faith. Our actions can help but in the case of forgiveness and faith, they do not work (Ephesians 2:4-10). But you also can’t promise anyone anything good that is 100%. Sometimes I will tell my best friend I love them unconditionally, but only 98% of the time because as a human I am incapable of giving such an abundant gift, only God can. We can’t promise an amends and live up to it 100%, I can’t. So here I start another smaller walk within my large journey with Christ, I take up another challenge that tests my faith. But just because I cannot make it up to them, does not mean I do not encourage fellowship.
As followers of Christ our best friendships should have a strong foundation in fellowship, it helps us not be distracted. That is a basic understanding. This other blog goes into further detail of fellowship and examples from the early church http://redeeminglamb.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/fellowship.html. This step I right now unfortunately cannot complete due to the other party not speaking, but I have experiences from other friendships, where we may not have agreed on things, even doctrinal/spiritual matters but after forgiving we were still able to keep our fellowship. After all it is what we share as a church for the glory of God. Even I, sharing this blog now is a means of fellowship because I am communicating and discussing with you about lessons to learn as a Christian. If you have fellowship and have a God-based relationship rather than an emotional one, there are high chances your friendship will heal and thoroughly. And even though you cannot make great promises you can still show good actions and act lovingly towards each other.
With God, I can get through this storm. Despite the hurt (and even regret that I’m battling with) I can still see ahead. With my faith in God and asking Him to take control of my emotions and put me on the path where He wants me to be, I do not live in fear, despite the lack of my close friend. I am going to take this experience and remember what I learnt, so that Christ shall help me strengthen my self-control and understand how to be gracious towards friends in future. My focus now is to be more like Christ with my actions in regards to love. I’m not perfect but I must do my best, this event has been a wakeup call to me. I definitely had faith, but through conversation and the words I was saying, I was dead. But Christ has made me alive. I may have lost a friend but with Christ I will always have a loving relationship. I must focus my sights on Him.
“My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.” — Billy Graham
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Soli Deo Gloria.