Deep friendships mean abysmal betrayals, when, for some reason, the relationship ends.
Inevitably every close relationship, friendships particularly, are affected by conflict, and ultimately some skirmish occurs to test the strength of trust between two buddies.
There’s deep hurt, sorrow, anguish, and loneliness. But things can get even more complex if one or both begin to interact from a platform of that hurt.
It stands to reason that it’s when we’re hurt we have more capacity to hurt others. And when the other person is hurt they will not respond well to our hurtful comments and behavior.
Friends really have a responsibility to one another, and if one doesn’t take responsibility surely it’s up to the other. What an irony it is that one person from the eroded friendship must take the role of being a friend.
But what is the role of a friend when they’re in conflict with another friend?
Well, the obvious thing to say is this; if they don’t act as a friend, the friendship has no future. Not just that, the friendship will ever more be a source of pain that cannot and will not be reconciled.
Bitterness is bred on the spread of relational distance, the refusal to vulnerably admit and lovingly address hurts.
A friend must act beyond their feelings of sadness and anger from betrayal, and genuinely reach forth to their friend as if the hurt hadn’t occurred in the first place. That’s right, for one attempt, or perhaps one more, it’s the godly thing to reach out and endeavor to understand the hurt in our friend.
This is helped by getting the log out of our own eye first (Matthew 7:1-5).
It would be a waste of their time and ours, and potentially catastrophic to an already damaged friendship, to reach out without being ready to assume our own responsibility for what went wrong.
Remembering that the premise of this article is the initial interactions to get the friendship back on track after conflict, reconciliation can start with us. Redemption is in our hands if we walk humbly with our friend.
Steve Wickham is a writer and pastor who holds degrees in science, divinity, and counseling.