Culture, Scripture, Spirituality

When A Friendship Ends

“A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of Nature.” —
Ralph Waldo Emerson; Essays: First Series. Friendship.

 

Friendship by Stefano Corso. Flickr Creative Commons.
Friendship by Stefano Corso. Flickr Creative Commons.

 

Friendship is hard. Even when it’s going easy, it’s hard.

In general, relationships are tough; that’s because of the frailty of humans. We’re so weak and imperfect, and even though the Cross redeemed us from spiritual death, we are yet plagued by a fallible nature.

Thank God for His goodness — from glory to glory!

Still, friendship is hard. As with love, friendship is many spending things because friendship, true friendship, is sown in, nurtured in and grown in love. Even when they are soaked in love though, some friendships are just harder to maintain, to keep than others.

The Word says “love covers a multitude of faults.” (I Peter 4:8) Not one of us is perfect. We strive for it, to be better, wiser, and kinder than we were yesterday. One of the great rewards of chasing God is a pure, intimate relationship that drives us to conviction (not guilt or condemnation) when we fall short.

Friendships makes life rich. But how do you know when a friendship is a blessing and when it needs to end? A verse in Proverbs that is a great thermometer: “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow.” Proverbs 10:22 KJV

And the Amplified reads this way: “The blessing of the Lord — it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

Blessing. Maketh rich. Addeth no sorrow.

Hmmm…

Eleanor Roosevelt friendship quote

I’ve had and have friendships that made my life [truly] rich. Those same friendships brought me much sorrow, either through broken confidence, betrayal, lies and other types of deceit, jealousy, gossip…whatever and however, they brought pain. Like any relationship, there are ups. There are downs. We hold on for the broader richness, we let the good and the joys outweigh the pains and tears. We cover one another’s faults with our love, as imperfect as is.

But then there are friendships that simply end. Those sisterships and brotherships that die to hurts that are unforgivable and unforgettable, to sorrows, to pride, to misunderstandings, to betrayals, to an impasse that can’t be undone with our fickle and frail love, at least not human love in its own strength.

 

"Friendship" by Eric.
“Friendship” by Eric.

I have experienced the end of a friendship, more than once. The heartache is always sharp and piercing. One friend demanded all my time, got angry when I was not available on her clock, accused me of things that just weren’t true, was absent when I needed her, gossiped about me behind my back, plotted against me and betrayed my confidence. And that’s the short list of offenses.
I had another friend who could never keep her word or commitments. In both cases, pain became the narrative of the friendship. Pain became a familiar route, one I knew I would always travel as long as I was in relationship with either of these individuals. Eventually, I gave up; I walked away from both friendships. I chose myself.

Breaking up is hard to do. It just is. Whether the split is from the love of your life, or a job, it’s hard to walk away — even when it’s in our best interest to do so. The same holds true for a friendship that has run its course.

The end of a friendship does not mean the end of love. Even the friends who once were but are no longer in my life, I still call them friend. I still ask God to fill every void and meet every need in their lives. I still love them — I only love them afar. My continuing love for them does not mean they earned total absolution; it just means that I am living by the Word.

“For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willfull sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses {their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15

Friendship by Tinou Bao Flickr Creative Commons
Friendship by Tinou Bao Flickr Creative Commons

God commands us to forgive. We cannot get around that. Big picture: Forgiveness is not ours to hold or wield. We don’t really have a right not to forgive someone considering all we have done and do. Remember those weaknesses and frailties? We simply must forgive others of their offenses. Forgiveness is not for them; it’s not for us, either. It’s not about us. It’s all about God. Always.
God is Jehovah Rapha, he heals all things including relationships. And maybe one day when we’re in new places, different seasons, I can reconcile with my two former friends. Maybe. The Lord is the Prince of Peace, and He is absolutely awesome — He can do anything. Nothing is too hard for Him to fix, even a broken relationship. The important thing though, and it’s the most important, is that I walk in love, forgiveness and mercy regardless of where the friendship is.

And in the end, when the end comes, my obedience will prove far more important than my pride or heartache. My friendship with the Lord is more important.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.