“Mommy, she just told me she won’t be my friend if I am friends with “Sally.”
Remember those days? The days when one friend was mad at another friend and demanded you not be friends with the offending friend? Maybe you never experienced that, but I did. My children have, as well.
The sad part is that many adults still feel this way. I remember my early adult years were filled with this. When one friend would slight me, I was quick to run off and tell (gossip) another what the other friend had done and I was mortified when (a.) that friend told the other one and (b.) – they were STILL FRIENDS.
I mean – didn’t that person see the injustice of what had been done to me. Didn’t they understand that I wasn’t being a tattle tale, but truly I deserved justice?
And so, the story goes on and on. Someone does something someone doesn’t like and the chain gossip begins.
I really thought that when I grew up, this type of behavior would stop. But, it must be innate to human nature – especially human nature that has not truly met it’s maturity in Christ.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some situations where relationships do need to be severed. If a person is stepping outside the boundaries of a church, or a friendship – over reaching or flat out sinning, the relationship needs to be placed on hold until forgiveness is sought, redemption is complete and the relationship can continue.
But, what I don’t get is that adults still walk around telling others – ‘you can’t be their friend and my friend, too.’
There is a Biblical way to handle issues. God gave us guidelines to help us in our sinful nature. But, He did not give us guidelines to make us into little pharisees running around and telling people who they can and can’t be friends with (or else).
Here are some steps to help when a friend has hurt you:
- Speak with that friend (on the phone or in person)
- If you need guidance, talk with a mentor. Do not gossip and be prepared to do your own ‘work’ in reuniting the friendship.
- Don’t tell other friends about it.
- Do NOT require other friends to excommunicate or unfriend that person.
- Remember, a true friend seeks to encourage and work through difficulties.
Let’s set the example for our children. We are all on a journey – seeking God’s purpose for us- desiring to worship and please Him. We may be at different spots during the journey. We may be ahead in some areas of our lives and behind in others. Regardless of where we are or where the ‘offender’ is (and we may very well be the offender)- we are all offensive to God. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Let’s not play god by becoming pharisees and living a life of hypocrisy no better than an unbeliever by walking around and telling others who they can be friends with or talk to.
Let’s truly be friends who encourage, love, rebuke and restore friendships. If we do not follow the many examples Christ gave us, we are walking this earth as unbelievers, placing ourselves in front of God and saying we are better.
Oh, how I have fallen short so many times. I have been the offender and I have offended. My very best friends are the ones who have walked the journey with me and sought true reconciliation through redemption and forgiveness.
Will you join me?
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