A few months ago I attended a gathering and ran into an old friend of mine. We hadn’t talked or seen each other in at least a year and a half or so. We shared a quick light hug and immediately I realized that this person wasn’t particularly elated to see me. I started a conversation in order to hopefully catch up with this person so we could share what‘s been happening in our lives. Well, let’s just say that I was the one that had to be responsible for keeping the conversation going. This was not a reunion. Then it dawned on me as I kept trying to keep the conversation alive that this person and I were no longer friends. As I drove home that night, I admit that it did sting a bit. A slight heaviness came over me and I reflected on our years in college and just the differences in our personalities and outlooks on life. By the next morning, I was more at peace. I realized that this person and I had simply grown into different people. My mind became a little more at ease as I understood that this person and I maybe didn’t have much in common anymore. Were there unresolved issues? Possibly… Who knows? We can’t read each other’s minds and it is just best to move on. This person and I certainly are not enemies, but this situation is evidence that relationships do change. I can rest and be okay with the fact that this person and I are now mere acquaintances.
A mentor friend at my church always says, “Life is a big bowl of relationships.” I believe he is right to a large degree. Relationships change over time for a variety of different reasons. There are those you just simply outgrow. This is not to suggest that you are better than them, but that people mature spiritually at different rates. Sometimes you and that person may not have anything in common anymore or that their lives become stagnant whiles yours is moving on; or vice versa. Other times, our lives simply go in different directions and the closeness or intimacy you once shared with someone diminishes. These situations can especially hurt when they involve your own family. I know all too well about that one… There are other times where things like physical distance can cause relationships to fizzle out, like a soda that has gone flat.
Sometimes there are expressed and even unspoken offenses in relationships. The nature of human frailty includes situations of jealousy, envy and simply ulterior motives for the “friendship” in the first place. This is why COMMUNICATION is key when it comes to relationships. I know that I have current relationships that have somewhat broken down because of misunderstanding, expressed and unexpressed offenses and lack of communication. When there are unhealed issues, wounds and offenses that have not been resolved, the relationship is likely to break down sooner or later. Unfortunately, it may even result in a blow-up or falling out. I’m sure we have all heard the saying that “Hurt people hurt others.” Well, I believe this plays out all the time in relationships. Just like a wound that goes untreated and develops an infection that can spread around the whole body, a relationship can become permanently broken due to festering situations and wounds.
I believe that friendship is an area of our lives where we don’t always allow Father God to be in control. (This is actually the main point of this post) Let’s face it; relying upon Him to choose our friends and place people in our lives isn’t exactly easy. He will not place people that you necessary deem to be pleasant or likeable in your path. He will not always link you up with people who are cool or even those that you might seem to have some things in common. He will likely link you up with folks to help shape your character. This includes individuals with whom your personality clashes. This also includes people who will hurt you.
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (NKJV)
We must remember that this is a journey that we are walking and if He is lord over our lives, He should get place whomever in your world He feels is necessary for your spiritual growth. He will place the people you NEED in your life; not always those you necessarily want. I’m learning that I have to be open to allowing God to place people in my life whom in the natural, I may never have formed a connection. I am learning to yield to Him so that my horizons can be broadened a bit. How many times have I or you ended relationships without God’s permission? Or how many times have we formed relationships with people when God was raising red flags for us to run the other direction? Hmmmm…. Ponder that.
Our connections with people are not just for our benefit, but for theirs as well. Every relationship is supposed to have a purpose.
So with that being said, we have to brace ourselves when God sometimes breaks up our relationships. He does this for a variety of reasons, such as codependency, lust, jealousy, distractions, causing brethren to stumble, etc. Heck, the Bible does say also that He is a jealous God. No man should come before Him, so don’t be surprised if He intervenes and causes a “sabbatical” from a relationship, or severs it altogether. If our affections for our friends exceed those towards Him, sometimes He will take some drastic measures to divert our attention back on to Himself. I have also come to realize that God is always protecting us. I think about the numerous times over the years where I would meet someone and we would seem to hit it off great in terms of fellowshipping. But for some reason, the connection would get lost almost immediately and somehow we could never get our schedules aligned or even talk over the phone much. These situations would get me down sometimes. However, in recent years, the Holy Spirit has shown me that in many of these situations, God was protecting me from that person, and vice versa… I also had to swallow my pride and admit that my neediness often caused me to cling to people and not go to Him in my times of need. Everything that appears good isn’t, especially if He is not a part of it…
So this is why we must trust God with our relationships. Wrong relationships will steer us off course from our destiny and take away our attention off of the Father. Wrong relationships will cause us walk in flesh and not the spirit. Right relationships will help form our character. Right relationships should draw us closer to Him. Let’s trust the Father and allow Him to pick and choose our relationships.
Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013
August 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm
One beautiful advantage about being older is that you realize that most of the people that come into your life was NEVER meant to be a permanent fixture nor part of your future! Even if they are considered, for the most part, to be “GOOD” people, they still are just not meant to be a part of the picture/future/season anymore! And if you continue to cling to them, they will become a WEIGHT…a dead weight at that! And the problem with most of us is that we’ve got too much/too many dead things/people in our lives. So many that we’ve cursed and/or cancelled our future because we refuse to let the dead go! We’ve defiled ourselves over and over by continuing to cling to what God has repeatedly separated us from!
We never seem to recognize that God will always (and has already) sent the people we need; but the people we have….the people we’ve chosen….the people who endorse our madness…have killed them all….thus killing the relationship(s)….And we find ourselves surrounded by spiritually empty/spiritually fruitless folks who are nothing more than parasites, when what we need are proteges! A PARASITE wants whatz in your hand; a PROTEGE wants whatz in your head and your heart! So we need to purposefully focus on getting some character-building people in our lives. They may make life difficult/challenging, but you cannot be a better person without them…
The P.O.E.T. aka The Anointed Pen
August 29, 2013 at 4:57 pm
Friendships that are orchestrated by God tend to be the best ones & last a lot longer. Discernment is crucial & necessary in all relationships including friendship. Great post.
September 3, 2013 at 11:48 am
This scripture has become a foundation for Godly relationships in my life: Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity. Your blog really covers what many of us have experienced through. You are absolutely right, we must TRUST GOD for friendship — allowing him to bring SISTERS & BROTHERS into our lives.
For me, I’ve had to really fight for those God ordained relationships (like David/Jonathan, Paul/Philemon, Naomi/Ruth). There is one thing I know for sure — having built very strong relationships over the years that HAVE LASTED: True friendship is about brothers “born for adversity.”
We call Christ our brother right? Hebrews 2:11 says, “…So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” He calls us brothers and sisters because (1) we are not ashamed of him; and (2) because we are willing to bear the cross with him (adversity). True friendship, as I have matured to understand it in my own life, stands RIGHT HERE in this place. I don’t have to worry about people “holding things over my head, pointing fingers or killing me” in the midst of true friendship, relationship.
Rather, we stand together willing to get work out whatever is required to be at peace and love with one another. After raising my first daughter, I look back and can see all the mistakes I made AND all the things I did right. But I realized this: There’s no instruction manual with parenting that outlines every single challenge and step. Such is the case with relationships. All we can do is TRUST GOD and believe that all things will work together for our good — theirs and hours.
When we DO FIND good friends… all we can do is love them where they are, and trust God that he will grow us in brotherly love every day. Jesus said this in John 15:14, You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. Thank God that all He asked us to do was love in the fruit of forgiveness, the hope of kindness and the selfless nature of the cross. I hope to get there…
I only want the relationships in my life that GOD ALONE wants for me. It took me a long time to get this, but I do now… and I cherish it. EXCELLENT POST! Wish I could get all my friends to read it. I love your openness and transparency.
March 31, 2014 at 7:52 am
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