Friend, I hope you’ll love this replay of one of my popular posts. I made a few edits and changed the photo but my heart on friendship remains true. Jill Savage and her daughter Annie have a new book on moms and friendship. It’s titled Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom It Alone.You might want to check it out.
The one thing every friend needs is. . .someone who accepts our messiness and loves us in the messy.
Let’s be honest. Friendships scare you and me.
Friendships meet a God-given need for relationship, so why do few women make friends as easily as my college-aged daughter Julia? She collects friends like shiny pennies. She and her friends — girls and guys — always text, tweet, snap chat, and meet IRL (in real life) over lunch, dinner, snacks, more snacks — all their waking hours.
And who doesn’t have a messy life? Sometimes “super women” look like that they have it all together. They don’t. They’re hiding behind masks. Perhaps perfection or busyness or materialism or career-climbing.
Please be assured that they’re messy too.
Listen to Elyse Fitzpatrick, a biblical counselor, conference speaker, and author:
Until recent years, even though I knew I was to serve God, I never had my priorities straight. I never understood that my problem was me — not my husband, job, kids, car, parents . . .you fill in the blanks. I was confused and the psychological pholosophies that had crept into my thinking were making things worse. Didn’t I neeed to learn to love myself? Didn’t I need to get my needs met? Didn’t I have a need for romance? For security? For significance? How could God expect me to pour my life out for others then I was so miserable myself? Didn’t I need to fill my own ‘love cup’ before I could fill others? (from Women Helping Women, Harvest House, 1997)
After digging deep into the Bible for God’s truth, her focus changes and she recognizes her messiness and the solution to it.
Now I understand that I’m not to be concerned with whether my perceived ‘needs’ are being met. These ‘needs’ are not issues for me anymore because I believe that God have given me everything for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). It’s not that I’m perfect, I’m not. In fact, I’m far more aware of my sin now than ever before. It’s just that life makes sense now and I’m confident that my loving Father is in control.
Yes, she needs friends. Just as I do and you do.
Real friends.Our real friends give hugs and listen when we have real hurts and laugh with us not at us. Because they listen, our friends encourage and strengthen us. They help us know we are not alone.
Do you have a friend you encourages you? How do you encourage your friends? Hugs? Notes? Listening? Laughing?
Are You Friend “Challenged”?
God is piloting me through a friend-free zone now, and I don’t like it. My once close friends got busy and I got busy too — with work, with family responsibilities. Does your busy life make time for friends? How can you schedule in friend time so you can encourage her and be encouraged?
I cried to God, “I feel friendless and I don’t like it.”
The Lord spoke to my heart: “Come to Me.”
Quiet sharpens my hearing.
Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10, NIV
I sensed that the Lord will renew friendships and bring new ones. . .in his time. He’s giving me another opportunity to trust him. Do you feel friend challenged too? If so does this bring on feelings of worthlessness?
Whether you have a bazillion girlfriends like my daughter, Julia, or just a few — or none — God says you matter. When friendships become hurtful, you matter.
Some women are roses, a few are thorns. But even rose bushes have thorns, so how do you handle the hurt?
Two solutions pop into mind.
1. Drop your friend.
2. Stick with your friend.
Which solution seems best to you? What choice have you made in the past when a friend has hurt you? Is there an even better solution that these two?
Friendship Coach Chimes In
Best-selling author Dee Brestin wrote The Friendships of Women, which has sold over a million copies. By this book and her bible studies she has mentored many women through problem friendships. She writes,
As roses vary from quiet pink to sunny yellow to razzmatazz red, so do women. And when you draw near to a woman, she will often quite willingly open to you petal after petal of fragrant loveliness.
But lurking beneath the glossy, green leaves of roses are surprisingly nasty thorns. After experiencing a few jabs into your soft, tender flesh, you handle roses with more respect. A dedicated rose gardener, one who believes that the glory of the rose more than compensates for the occasional wounds it inflicts, learns to bear the pain and to handle roses in such a way that she is seldom stabbed.
Lovely roses with pointy, blood-thirsty thorns? The thought of it freaks me out.
When hurt, I usually want to back away. Or scream.
What about you? When was the last time you were jabbed by a woman friend? Today? Last week? How did you handle the pain?
When a Friend Didn’t Mean to Hurt You
Often your friend didn’t intend to hurt you. She made a mistake. Perhaps the hurt was a. . .
A careless remark.
A forgotten invitation.
An unexplained silence.
A last-minute cancelled plan.
Did you know that when a friend hurts you, it’s no fun but makes sense?This hurt – as painful as it may be – confirms Scripture, that each of us has a fallen nature. Yep, we’re all in trouble and we all need help.
The Bible teaches that the gospel of Jesus Christ transforms lives. This good news of his life, death, resurrection, and ascension has an astonishing effect on you and me. It means that we who love Jesus are loved by God; we are his daughters — despite the messy mistakes we make and the friends we hurt.
The apostle Paul wrote to his young friend Timothy,
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesuscame into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15
SOLUTION: When unintentionally hurt by a your friend, forgive her. Keep your friendship. Tell her, lovingly, that she hurt your feelings. Talk it through. You’ll grow closer.
When a Friend Meant to Stab!
What’s a solution when your friend turned enemy and actually meant to slice and dice?
But think hard if keeping the friendship is wise.
If she gossiped once or twice, your friendship is probably worth restoring. If she bedded your husband, you have no friendship. She’s a destroyer.
SOLUTION: Find a female mentor at your church to talk through your hurt feelings. Discuss whether to have a conversation with your former friend and how. It’s usually best to have another person with you — your mentor, your husband or other family member, a counselor — to keep emotions in check during the talk. Tell her how you feel. Pray before and after your talk.
When have dropped a friend? Have you forgiven her?
as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13b
Outside my door, I have a rose bush covered in magenta blossoms in season. It has nasty thorns. When stabbed, I don’t take it personally. The rose bush is just being itself. Thorns and all. This is the nature of the rose bush.
So it is with friendships. They are not perfect and never will be.
COUNSELING: Are you hurting from a broken relationship? Contact me for Christ-centered biblical counseling.
After a mistake that hurts someone, isn’t it mind boggling that you can have forever forgiveness?
This forever forgiveness is an amazing gift Jesus gives to those who love him.
Jesus says all your mistakes (i.e., your ugly sin) are forgiven — past, present, andfuture.
Tomorrow’s jealous glance at the neighbor’s shiny Lexus? Forgiven. Next month’s hurtful words? Forgiven.A lie a year from now? Forgiven. Cheating on your taxes in 2023? Forgiven.
Even Future Sins?
When Jesus obeyed his heavenly Father, went to the cross, and died for the sins of the world (John 3:16), every single one of your mistakes was in the future. Long, long before you blossomed to life and snuggled deep in your momma’s womb.
Before you ever thought to swipe the car keys without permission. Or inhale a funny, sweet smelling cigarette. Or read erotica.
What Are the 3 Things to Do?
1.When your ugly is against another person, go to her and ask her (or his) forgiveness.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
As appropriate, pay for what you broke or lost and otherwise make good. Admit you lied or gossipped or cheated. Yes, this means replacing the cute shoes you wrecked too. And the dark chocolate you snatched without asking.
No worries that you might forget a sin against another person. The Holy Spirit will lovingly point out your grievance and encourage and strengthen you to act in accordance with who you are in Christ.
2. When your ugly is against God — and all sins are against God — genuinely thank Jesus. Thank him for dying in your place so you could have eternal life. (Romans 3:10).
3. Then do a spiritual U-turn. A 180 degree turn. You were headed off the cliff. God helped you think rightly and you’re walking away from sin and toward holiness. Tell Jesus that you were not acting like a child of the Most High God when you messed up big time. Even a little sin stands sequoia high next to our holy God.
One More Thing
God knows. He gets it. He loves you. You are forgiven.
Huge, this cross. Amazing, his sacrifice.
P.S. If you’d like more practical encouragement, pleas sign up for my blog or my newsletter. I care.
A scare-your-pants-off article in Newsweek hints that online friendships can be bad for you. Why? Spending time online — and thus sites like Facebook — may rewire your brain, resulting in loneliness, depression, even psychosis. Is this true?
Are online friendships bad for your health? Put another way, should you close your Facebook account? Today?
More important, what does God say about friendships?
Listen to this:
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)
and this verse too:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God —I say this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:33,34)
By the way, there is no biblical command to avoid online friends. . .for good reason. 😉
Choose Friends Wisely
The meaning of these bible verses is clear: Spend your time with friends who are becoming more and more like Christ. You and I tend to model the words, actions, and thinking of the people we hang with. Of course, it’s all right — even good — to be in the company of sinners. Jesus was. This brief passage shows him breaking bread with messy people.
Like Jesus, when you and I have friends who do not love Jesus, our purpose needs to be this: putting their most important need first, that is, knowing Christ.
Nothing beats a hug from a reach-out-and-touch friend in good times and in tough times, and ((((hug))))) typed in a Facebook status is nice but not the same. Agree?
Also, in the bible, we hear this instruction:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24,25).
The upshot: Make and keep Christian girlfriends.
Check out these stories of my kids’ assertion that my Facebook friend aren’t real friends AND how I met an online girlfriend in person and why it was meaningful to me. Hugs, tears, and more hugs, more tears. . .and my husband’s Cheshire cat smile.
God can fix your friendship. Here are two ways to help. And one way you shouldn’t.
During high school my two best friends and I ate lunch together, talked on the phone every evening, and shared quirky inside jokes. Yep, best friends until senior year. The summer before senior year, they met boys.
While the couples whooped it up, I felt forgotten, hurt, and lonely. I don’t think my friends meant to hurt me. Still, they picked him and him and I was dust in the wind.
Has a friend hurt you? How do you fix your friendship? Should you?
With God’s power you can mend a broken friendship by one of two ways. (In one case, you shouldn’t. . .unless the Holy Spirit nudges you to fix it.)
1. Cover with Love
If the wound is not deep, or you feel compelled, then cover an offense with love.
I was able to do this with my two high school friends. They didn’t mean to hurt me, and I had other friends to hang with. But I still missed them and the way it used to be. I had to let go of my dream that we’d continue as best buds through graduation.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
So when you can and as the Holy Spirit empowers you, let the hurt go. Let love cover the offense. Letting go can lead to restoration.
2. Confront with Love
Years ago, serving as a women’s ministry director, my team and I made a decision to switch the day of our morning Bible study for several good reasons. At least we thought so.
However, one women was angry with our decision and phoned each women in the bible study, complaining about the day change and me. I felt hurt and angry.
Eventually, she and I talked privately. We confronted one another in love. I apologized that the change took her by surprise, that I should have communicated better with everyone. She apologized for gossiping.
Our friendship was never the same. We became careful around each other, fearing more hurt. It was as mended as could be at that time.
Solomon said, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love,” and “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” Proverbs 27:5,6.
And When You Probably Should Run
Let’s say the offense was huge, bigger than the Grand Canyon, and you no longer trust her. An obvious example: She bedded your husband and is happy she did. A less obvious example: She tells lies about you and you confront her, but she does not repent and continues her lying.
When there’s no remorse, you can forgive the offender but you can withdraw for the destructive relationship.
Here are helpful scriptures.
Proverbs 18:24 — “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is afriend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Psalm 41:9 — “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.”
Most of All, You Need. . .
Do you remember this hymn? Let’s the words wash over you and comfort you. I also included a link to the music.
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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!
Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!
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