So I thought I would join in with some of my thoughts on friendship. I am not sure how many "tips" I have to share per say, but as I have been pondering this post for over a week, one thing kept coming to my mind: Forgiveness in Friendships. I can remember only a few times throughout my life of feeling truly, deeply hurt by a friend. The kind of hurt that needs true forgiveness. Not just the silly "you forgot to call me" or "borrowed my favorite shirt and spilled on it" kind of hurt. While these kinds of hurts can still be damaging to a friendship - trust is not broken for long, forgiveness comes fairly easily, and the hurt is healed quickly.
No, I am talking about the "how could you do this" kind of hurt. The kind you never think could happen, and you usually do not see coming. From a trusted and dear friend. The kind of hurt that really take time to heal, but in the end will often make the friendship stronger.
In all situations in my life I look to the Bible to see what God says. Matthew 18:21-23 tells me that I am to forgive seventy times seven times ~ Side note this does not mean a literal 490 second chances for each of us, nope! The number 7 is used as an analogy for completeness all throughout the Bible. We are supposed to completely forgive - which can be very hard when a friend has betrayed your trust and hurt you.
I am still learning what forgiveness in a friendship looks like. Here are a few things that I have found useful in finding forgiveness in friendships
Talk about it with your friend - Does she know you are hurt? In college on of my close girlfriends got asked out on a date by a boy I liked. (Looking back this seems so silly - but it happened) I was crushed, and felt so betrayed that she would accept his invitation, knowing that I liked him. After a few day of keeping my feeling inside, and letting the bitterness grow, and our friendship starve, I finally got up the nerve to talk to her about it. Turns out, she had no idea how I was feeling or that her actions were hurtful to me. If I had not talked to her, my bitterness would have continued to grow and I suspect that our friendship would have not recovered. Today she is still one of my closest friends.
Don't "lord it over them" - When a "how could you do this" event has happened in your friendship and forgiveness has been asked for and given, it will still take time to rebuild trust with your friend. The hurt is real, and I don't know about you, but I tend to remember things that hurt me, but I am not helping the situation by continually bring up the past hurt. (By "bringing it up" I mean both verbally and mentally.) Move on. Resist the temptation to "hold it over her head" or stew over what happened in your mind. Love her - it's probably what she needs the most at that time. Pray for her and for your friendship - that God would protect you from becoming bitter. Bitterness is kind of like a tar pit - easy to fall into, and very hard to get out of. Even when you do get out, you still have sticky tar all over you...Let God put a fence around that bitterness tar pit so you can't fall in!
In every friendship there is potential to be hurt by the other person. Why? Because we are all human, none of us is prefect, and all of us sin. Does that mean we should live under a rock and not have any friends because we don't want to take the chance that they will hurt us. Nope! While painful, working through hurtful situations with a friend is a chance to grow. A chance to practice forgiveness and mirror Jesus' forgiveness of us.
Do you have any helpful tips on forgiving a friend? Tomorrow Callie will be sharing tips on maintaining a friendship and I can't wait to read her thoughts on this topic. I feel like since college it has become increasingly difficult to maintain friendships and I am excited for some tips!