March 19, 2012
The Trials of Friendship
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother in born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
When I asked "Paula" if she could get together Thursday evening she declined. She and her mother already had plans.
A little while later I called "Dana" to see if she could hang out Thursday. You can imagine my shock when she said, "Sorry, I'm going to a dinner party at Paula's. You're not invited?"
Ouch! I couldn't help but wonder why Paula felt she could not be honest with me. Dana said the party was small and Paula probably didn't want to hurt my feelings. I understood, but being left out and lied to really hurt.
An uncomfortable knot sat in my stomach as I struggled with whether I should approach Paula or not.
We'd come to a crossroads in our friendship. I wanted to tell her, "It's okay you didn't invite me to your party but you didn't have to lie to me. And I forgive you, because 'a friend loves at all times.'" But I was too afraid.
At times like this, I follow my mom's advice. "When you don't know what to do, that's your cue to pray." God reminded me that when a "friend loves at all times" it means we believe the best about each other and work through problems.
Despite both my mom's and God's wisdom, I'm sad to say I decided to just let it go; I was too fearful to caringly confront my friend.
Paula called me a few weeks later. She felt bad for lying to me, apologized and explained the dinner party. I also apologized for not confronting her. I should have known our friendship was stronger than my fears.
We ended up laughing about our insecurities, and ourselves, because we knew we loved each other and wouldn't intentionally hurt one another. She should have been honest and I should've been brave enough to ask her about it.
Lying isn't supposed to be a part of friendship, but neither is fear. Every relationship will have its share of trials and mishaps. But it should also have its share of believing the best in each other and forgiveness.
When obstacles that aren't dealt with come between two people, they can eat at our hearts, little by little. When we allow it to build up over time, our enemy will use it to divide us.
Perhaps the Lord is prompting you to tell the truth to a friend you've not been honest with. Or maybe you're the one who's been told a lie. Scripture tells us, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18 NIV 1984). Whether telling the truth, or confronting a lie, it rests upon us to do whatever possible to reconcile with our friend.
You may be on the other end of a confession or confrontation that was not well received. I'm so sorry. I know it's painful to lose a friend. But we can rest assured, that once we've done our part, the Lord will continue to do His and heal the wound left.
If you're at a crossroads now, wondering if you should confess or caringly confront, may I encourage you to pray and take the next step? I am so glad Paula called me. What we have is too good to allow hurt feelings and misunderstandings to ruin it.
God's Word tells us "a friend loves at all times." That may not always be easy, but in the end, it's worth it. In fact, I can honestly say our friendship is now even stronger than it was before.
Dear Lord, we can make life so much more complicated than it needs to be. Help us to be honest, be brave, and to love and forgive each other the way You do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
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Reflect and Respond:
Is there a situation in your life that needs restoration or reconciliation?
Pray about how to move into action to make things right. Then take a first step.
Matthew 18:21-22, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" (NIV 1984)
Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV 1984)
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