The other day, an old friend of mine from a town I used to live in messaged me on Facebook messenger. I haven’t talked with my old friends from this town for a while, so it was a nice opportunity to catch up. I didn’t leave under the best circumstances when I left my former town. A dear friend of mine had passed away, and I knew I needed a fresh start. During my relocation, which took me about three months, I became the object of some nasty rumors. People were talking about me everywhere I went, not in a good way. I thought it would be nearly impossible fixing broken relationships here.
I had another friend who used to say, “If they’re talking about you, whether it’s good or bad, be grateful. At least you know they’re thinking about you.” While the things they were saying were all lies, and I was quite shocked at the rumors, I still had to smile when I thought about what this friend had said. “At least they’re talking about me.” Those words echoed around in my head for years.
So I wanted to see what this friend of mine had to say. As we conversed back and forth, I inquired about the church that I had once attended there. My heart’s desire was to mend my broken relationships with those who had been good friends of mine while simply letting the others go by the wayside.
As this friend and I continued our conversation, he informed me that he, his wife, and all (four) of their kids and spouses had “given up on Christianity.” I was quite surprised. Of all of my friends from this particular town, this was the last family I would have expected to tell me something like this. Then came the most shocking statement of all. “I’m so sorry I judged you wrongly.” I was surprised. I didn’t know that they had believed the rumors.
Almost everyone experiences broken relationships at some point in their lifetime. These ruptures can take various forms, ranging from parents losing custody of their children to single parents struggling to repair their bonds with their spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend, as well as friendships. Despite being an inevitable part of life, such situations can be challenging to deal with.
When we think of broken relationships, we usually think of a boyfriend and girlfriend or even a married couple who is struggling to remain married. However, broken relationships can take on many forms, from friends to our relationship with God.
In my friend and his family’s case, it was a relationship with God. The wife had been raised in a very strict Christian household. She and I are great friends and have many things in common, from quite similar childhoods to our personal views on life.
Over coffee, we’ve shared about how we’re struggling with various things, including how one child out of our four is struggling more than the other, differences with our spouses, and our belief system. My friend taught me how to enjoy being alone when my husband left me. She taught me how to go out to a movie all by myself and enjoy it. She helped me learn to heal from my own personal broken relationship.
As I listened to her husband tell me that they had had a falling out with their views on Christianity, I understood her perspective quite clearly. It’s not always easy to do the right thing and follow God. It can be challenging at best to be put on a pedestal and expected to set an example.
A Stitch In Time
My grandmother had a saying that she would quote all the time when we were children. She would say, “A stitch in time saves nine.” She would use this saying for everything. When we would have an argument with a friend, this was her go-to saying.
She told us we had to work at things, or they would fall apart. She was right. If we don’t work at our relationships, they’re going to fall apart. It’s that simple. If we want to be friends with someone, we have to take time to develop and build that friendship.
The same goes for all of our relationships. We have to take time to nurture those relationships. We have to place our focus on building them up and developing them. When something isn’t working right, “it’s like the sweater with a missing button. It just doesn’t work.” said my grandma. You have to stop and mend it.
That’s why my friend reached out to me. They wanted to mend the friendship. It felt good to know that they felt bad and had misjudged me and recognized it. I pondered it for several days before I could process the strategic move.
The more I pondered this, the more I wrote about fixing broken relationships and how important it is to have that peace of mind. I gave my friends that peace of mind and forgave them. I knew they didn’t have all the facts, so that they couldn’t make an informed decision.
Do We Have All The Facts?
Ensuring we have all the facts is important when considering fixing a broken relationship. It’s also important to search within ourselves and decide if we want to continue the relationship or simply forgive and move on. Clearly, no one had all of the facts when it came to the rumors that were being spread about me. I wasn’t moving because I had wronged anyone; I was moving to help my family and because I needed a fresh start after the death of my close friend. It was heartbreaking to realize that all of my friends believed the rumors and lies.
Forgiveness isn’t to make the other person feel better. It’s to make us feel better, release our bitterness, and move on with our lives. It doesn’t mean that we have to remain friends with the other party or forget our hurt, pain, and suffering.
In my friend’s case, I recognized true repentance and that they were truly sorry they believed the false rumors about me. While I’m not opposed to continuing our friendship, I think our friendship has taken on a new form wherein we’ll have to spend some time building our trust back up.
They knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t have done the things I was being accused of. They knew me well enough that they could have called me and asked me for the truth, and I would have given it to them. But they didn’t. My phone didn’t ring. It took a huge step of bravery on their part to reach out to me. I’m glad that they did. It felt good to reconnect and forgive.
Sometimes, we fear that the other party won’t want to continue the relationship. We fear that they still believe a lie. We fear the unknown, so we avoid it. Don’t forget my friends, “Fear is a Liar.”
Is The Relationship Worth Fixing?
The answer to this question is something you’ll have to think about. It will be dependent upon several factors and must be considered carefully. Do both parties want to fix the friendship? If only one of you wants to fix it and the other doesn’t, then the answer should be a resounding “No.”
Is this a long-standing friendship? Or something relatively new? A family member? You’ll want to answer each of these questions when deciding whether or not it’s worth fixing the broken relationship. Ultimately, the decision to fix a broken relationship is a very personal one.
With no one-size-fits-all answer, you will have to reach deep within yourself to decide if fixing the relationship is worth your time and effort. Sometimes, we simply have to forgive and move on for our own personal growth. Sometimes, we have to “Let go and let God.” We simply grow out of some relationships, and we must forgive and move on with our lives.