Friendship is a beautiful thing. Our friends can bring us joy, encouragement and some top quality bants. But when things don’t quite go to plan it can also be a painful and difficult road to navigate.
This last year has been a wake up call to the sacrifice and struggles of friendships in my own life. I experienced a pretty big shift in one of my closest friendships which left me feeling angry, hurt and confused. I found myself wrestling with what I knew God was saying – that I should love, forgive and move forward – and the nagging resentment that was growing in my heart.
It was a pretty sticky situation in all and the truth is, I’m still processing it, but God has been showing me so much through it all.
So how can you deal with a friendship that feels like it’s start to bring more pain than joy? Here’s a couple of things God has been teaching me:
God knows what we need
Life is always changing and our friendships change with it. People might move away, develop different interests or just drift a little from us. Although this can be painful we don’t have to be anxious about it, because God totally understands our need for fellowship.
We are not called to live in fear of change but to trust in God for all our needs. That includes our friendships. God knows we need people around who will understand and support us. The great thing is we can pray and ask him for faithful friendships that will last through the changes of life, and we can trust him that He will provide what we need.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19
We don’t need to place our value in our friends
This one is the key to surviving the highs and lows of friendships. We have to know that how our friends do (or don’t) react to us does not define our value and our worth. Instead, we need to know that what Jesus says about us is where we find our fulfilment.
That means that if a friend says something hurtful, we can look to the bible for what our Father God says about us, because that’s what really matters.
It means that if someone doesn’t make an effort to reply to a message or meet up, regardless of how they feel about us we are loved and accepted by the living God. That’s a crazy and life changing truth! When we understand that our value and worth is in Jesus not what others think of us it brings amazing freedom.
This doesn’t mean we won’t get hurt. It means we can let go of what has upset us because we know it doesn’t define us.
The bible says:
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my father I have made known to you.” – John 15:15
It is biblical truth that Jesus is our friend. Not in a cheesy Christian way though. Jesus is the ultimate friend who never changes, never leaves, never lets us down. He cares for us so deeply, and understands the complexity of human life because he lived as a man. He was rejected by his friends and even his family. He understands whatever pain we feel because he’s felt it too. And we get to call him friend. How amazing is that!