RENEWING FRIENDSHIPS

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Last week God spoke to us on “Rebuilding Broken Bridges”, and the first action that was suggested to us was “swallowing our pride and extending a new hand of friendship”. I have had several readers reach out with their comments since last week and also share their experiences in this area.
Over the next few weeks, we will be spending some time studying the Word, and allowing God to lead us along this journey of reconciliation. If you are going through this particular challenge, or have done so in the past, you may find guidance out of the lonely pain of separation.
Many times, when a relationship has become strained or broken, we do not think that we are personally to blame for this. Indeed, it may be very obvious that the failure came from words spoken, or actions taken by the other person. In a situation like that, our natural reaction when we are asked to swallow our pride is one of resistance. After all, self-pride and dignity may be all we have left, after the demeaning treatment we may have received at the hands of our loved ones. Even when we recognize our own contributory failures, we often still feel bitter at the lack of forgiveness, lack of mercy and humiliation meted out to us while we were at our lowest point.
You may have had words with the other person, and there may be friction, anger, lack of trust, envy, or hostility between you.  Self-pride is one way to deal with all of these negative and hurtful feelings. But the results you get with this reaction are short-lived, and ultimately lead to more heartache. Above all, you may find yourself acting at variance to the healing that God wants for you. Let’s be clear, God does not want for you to be degraded. His Word tells us that He wishes for us to prosper, to be appreciated and not put down. He does not wish you to be humiliated, but only wants to hold you in the palm of His hand, as you heal and bring healing to your loved ones.
Whenever we have reached that point of frustration, there a few steps we must take, if we must please God and not ourselves, and if we are to find lasting peace.

  • First of all, put away our personal egos or hurt pride.
  • Then critically look at what our own role was in the altercation or disagreement.
  • Finally, reach out to reconcile with the other person.

It takes strength and grace to put away your hurt pride. Our natural emotions, while being useful and valuable to our mental state, can also, when unhindered lead to inner unrest, bringing about a sense of desperation and fueling inter-personal disputes. The bible speaks of a root of bitterness which can take root, spring up and take a person over. But let me assure you that grace is available for the challenge of putting pride away. You may have tried everything, and found, like many of us, that grace is the only way.
Hebrews 12:15: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.
 I have known Christian folk, who have shown that it is possible to do this; it is possible to make a decision to walk away from pride. Even in the glare of publicity surrounding the misbehaviors of their loved ones, children and even spouses, they are able to receive God’s grace to thrive and be a blessing to their families and their communities.
When God sees that we are willing, He immediately steps in to help us. Isaiah says, as soon as God hears it, He will answer.
Isaiah 30:19:  For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
We must be willing to bend to God’s way (not always ours). 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 . Sometimes reading this popular passage in the bible, we become nearly scared or resentful when we realize that God wants us to put aside our own way. We wonder why someone else’s welfare is more important than ours. But this really means that we are meant to allow God’s way, even if it means putting someone else before ourselves. It is easier to show love, when we remember that we are loving Jesus by forgiving our fellow man.
Ephesians 4:32:  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:13:  Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Ask God today for a heart that forgives and reaches out for new beginnings; God is standing by to grant your request.
Be blessed!

Weekly Nugget: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”. (Proverbs 16:24; NIV)
Dr. Kene D. Ewulu ministers from Columbia, South Carolina, The United States.
All scriptures were linked from www.biblegateway.com