Have you ever been hurt by someone? Yes, and if we are candid we have each hurt someone as well, either intentionally or unintentionally. Things go wrong from time to time. Sometimes the differences are over issues and at other times they could be nothing more than personality clashes.
Conflict is a part of life. It would be impossible to not experience some conflict in life. As I was reading in one of the Psalms today the 55th to be exact I came across this passage:
If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.
Do you hear what the psalmist is saying? We expect our enemies to be against us, we do not expect our friends to turn on us. The psalmist says if it were an enemy insulting me, or rising against me it would be tough but not as tough as when a friend turns against me.
All of us have experienced this, many of us have lost contact with some if not most of our childhood friends, especially those of us who have moved away from our home town. Just reading this sentence may bring back pain. As I read this passage this morning, 3-5 different people came to mind, folks I have not thought about for awhile. I must admit the moments of remembering were painful. One of the person is from my youth, we were inseparable, life and space put distance between us, and I am filled with a little melancholy for a relationship lost. Yet a couple of the others were not friends lost because of change of life and locale. The others were people who became angry with me over decisions or differences of opinion. Some of these people were so close that you could almost here the background music, “friends are friends forever”, only to wake up and realize my friends not only will not speak to me, if they speak my name it is not in pleasant tones. I get it, I am a big boy and this is the way things happen. Understand that I am also aware that there are more than a few who could write a blog article including me in their list of friends who turned evil. Yes, I could try again at reconciliation, and see if this time it might happen.
What do you do when a friend turns against You? I am glad you asked, let me offer a couple of suggestions:
- Realize that it is a universal experience. The psalmists pain is not the pain delivered by the hand of an enemy, but rather from the hand of a friend. You can hear the pained voice of the Psalmist, a friend who was once in close fellowship is now against me. Again, it is good to remember these things do happen in life. I am not trying to be overly simplistic, but it does happen to everyone, including you and me.
- Remember you and I are not always the innocent victim! Many times we had a role to play in the mess. Always ask the Lord to search our hearts and then we must willingly confess our fault in the problem.
- Redeem the situation. Ask for forgiveness, give the Holy Spirit an opportunity for reconciliation.
- Refuse to become bitter. It is at these hurtful times that we must lean hard on the Lord
- Refocus your energy on being a positive influence for the Lord where you are today.
Today Lord may I be a better friend, guard my mouth and my actions and especially my heart. Let me be a friend to someone today! Amen