Forgive a Friend: Restoring Relationships With Grace

The betrayal of trust cuts deep. At that moment, we don’t want to forgive the friend who just wounded us. We want to lash out in anger and hurt them as bad as they hurt us. Forgiving them and restoring the relationship is far from our minds.

But once the gaping wound stops bleeding, we realize the throbbing pain is from the hurt of possibly losing our friend. Our pride can get in the way and make a bigger mess of things. Sometimes, we’re not good at communicating our feelings, or we’re afraid to communicate our feelings for fear of offending the other person. We don’t really want to lose our friends, but we are not sure how to fix the situation.

What do we do when a friend has broken our trust?

First, we pray. Then, we dig into God’s Word and seek to restore the friendship, if at all possible. It took time to build trust and develop a relationship with the one who hurt us, and it will take time to restore it as well.

True forgiveness may not happen overnight. Forgiveness starts when we decide to extend grace. The question is, are we willing to set our pride aside and take the first step in forgiving our friend so we can restore the relationship with grace?

Extending Grace

Though we are all equal in God’s eyes, extending grace doesn’t always level out the playing field when it comes to friendships. We may extend grace more freely to some friends and be stingy with it to others. God knows this about us and wants us to practice giving and receiving grace.

What is grace, and why should we extend it to our friends?

Grace is simply being shown favor. As Christians, God extends grace to us daily. We should do the same to those around us, especially the ones we love.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17, ESV). When we are in the mix of it all, we don’t realize that if we just let go and gave the situation to God, the pain would start to fade. The best way to let go is to extend grace and ask to talk about the betrayal. We have to humble ourselves and be willing to talk about the situation that caused the pain. Walking up to someone and admitting we were wrong is not easy, but it will strengthen the friendship.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, ESV). When we are slow to speak and are gentle with how we approach our friend, the conversation will be a peaceful one. We don’t want to fight fire with fire, as this will only make the situation worse. Instead, pour water on the flames by speaking truth with love.

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly” (Proverbs 15:2, ESV). We may not know how to start a difficult conversation with our friends. We may fear what the outcome may be once we are bold enough to discuss the problem, but we can rest assured when we ask God to help us, He will.

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3, ESV). We can be certain that God sees us and knows our hearts. He also sees our friend’s heart. God knows how the conversation will go. He knows how the conversation will end. God knows the outcome. We have to trust that no matter the outcome, God is in control, and He is working all things for our good.

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4, ESV). As the conversation becomes more involved and the details are laid out, it may become harder to stay calm and extend grace. During this time, we can ask God to help us to speak life into our friend and to guide the conversation. This will allow us to maintain a calm atmosphere that fosters a peaceful environment and welcomes the restoration of friendship.

Restoring Relationships

When we think of the word restore, we think of making something new from something that is broken. Broken friendships can cause a lot of hurt, pain and resentment. The restoration process takes time and patience.

While we may be ready to move forward and take the next step to mend the crack in the foundation of our friendship, our friend may not be there yet. Sure, she’s holding the duct tape, but she’s not quite sure where to place it. That’s when we need to give her some time and, more importantly, give her and our friendship to God.

Restoration Takes Time

“A person’s insight gives him patience, and his virtue is to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11, ESV). We need to take the time to listen to our friend while they are explaining their side of the story.

As we listen for understanding, we gain insight into our friend’s betrayal. This will allow us to have patience and extend grace. We can’t be afraid to ask hard questions that will help us understand.

Being an Authentic Friend Takes Time

At some point, we will be hurt by a friend, and we will hurt a friend. When we are willing to work through our differences, emotions, and hurt, our friendships will flourish.

“Vulnerability and time turn people with a relationship into people who have a friendship.” Justin Whitmel Earley, The Common Rule

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