Broken relationships are as old as the Bible. In Psalm 55:12-14, David describes his pain because of a friend’s betrayal,
“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.”
Because we invest love and time into our relationships, a part of us is destroyed when a relationship is damaged. Thankfully, there are practical steps available to handle a broken relationship. Here are four that I have applied in my life.
1) Meet in person
Technological communication can cause us to forget the real person with vulnerable emotions on the other side of the text or email. When a friendship is waning, arrange a time to see each other. If meeting in person is not an option, then try a phone or Facetime call. Talking directly forces you to engage with each other, which is often lacking from text or email. Establishing personal, direct communication can breathe life into a dying relationship.
2) Be honest
Dramatic confrontations are unnecessary, but we do need to be open about our feelings. Several months ago I mentioned to a friend that she was not responding to my texts. She explained that she had been extra distracted and busy lately, which eased my mind. In the past, I have overreacted to relationship problems, only to discover the facts later. My friends did not suddenly start hating me; they just had commitments that prevented them from contacting me. Being honest can save friendships and keep drama to a minimum.
3) Face your failings
Proverbs 28:13 says,
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
This is especially true with family relationships. We cannot undo our mistakes. However, we can show genuine remorse to the person we hurt and express a desire to change our behavior. After genuinely apologizing to the person we hurt, we should recognize the problem with our behavior and ask for their grace and support as we work to fix that character flaw.
4) Ban bitterness
It hurts when a friend stops communicating for no apparent reason, but jumping to conclusions only worsens the situation. We are not aware of their present situation. They could be dealing with something that has captured their attention. Even if they have chosen to move on, we must remain positive because bitterness only hurts us. Whether or not that relationship is ever restored, we can choose to highlight the positive memories and diminish the bad. Just like David in the Bible, we will face broken relationships. Tension is a part of living in a broken world. But God is the repairer of broken things. When we surrender our relationship to Him and prayerfully take steps to restore the relationship, we can trust that He will give us His wisdom.