Originally published Wednesday, 14 February 2018.
When do you end a friendship?
This is both a hard question to ask, and perhaps, one we’ve all been confronted with. Are there times, reasons or seasons to pull away from a friend? And should we feel horribly guilty about it?
I stood facing exactly this type of decision only three weeks ago. I liked the girl, but she had been giving me far too much detailed advice about topics I never asked her input on. This annoyed me. It was as if she was rewriting my life with a pen I never handed her. It was as if she was telling me a list of things I should improve, but the hard part was she didn’t even know my story or what God was doing behind the scenes. She was quick to talk and slow to ask questions of understanding.
My finger was pointed at her. And my mind kept circling the thought, “Guard your heart. Create distance from her.”
This meant avoid her: Avoid confronting her. Avoid the problem and avoid dealing with the repercussions of having a real discussion.
But God bless my husband. He essentially told me, “Love has hard talks.”
It does? So I talked with her.
Which I’m so glad I did, because if I didn’t I never would have seen:
-How my wounds made me react quickly to her words.
-God had things for me to learn through this discussion.
-Her heart was in the right place.
-God has deeper healing for me.
-There are safe boundaries that can be set up.
-I am not always right.
-Communication about what works and what doesn’t is vital to any relationship.
-We both have good goals in mind.
-The enemy is sneaky and he loves to create division.
I am not perfect, and neither are my friends. I haven’t always been a good or an enduring friend but I am learning to give people the benefit of the doubt.
So to answer the question, “When do you end a friendship?” I don’t have all the exact answers and there are far too many nuances to explain in black ink...but I do know: you never ditch people like trash. That is for sure.
You talk and you tell. You love and love some more. You give and accept grace. You listen and you learn. You dive in and you uncover. You persist and listen to God's direction.
You take the risk, even when you want to turn your back and walk away. Sure, there may be times God leads you to go a different path. But, before this point, you enter the difficult spaces and get real. You seek to understand.
Take a hard-learned lesson from me.
Prayer: God, I want to be a good friend. I want to be a person who is slow to anger, quick to listen, patient and kind. Grow me in this. Show me how to communicate well. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
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