I have a question for you… When you read the title of this blog, did you picture somebody specific?

Someone that you used to be close with, and now, the thought of them brings a painful ache to your heart. Maybe you had a fight with this person. It was loud, and angry, full of spiteful words.

Or maybe it was quiet. A sort of growing detachment that you may have not even realized was happening at first. Each day, just a small step taken away from you until suddenly it’s been months since you’ve had a real conversation with them.

Maybe it was you that left.

No matter what your situation, a broken friendship brings a sharp sort of pain to mind.

It makes us feel isolated and alone.

Yet, we’re called to be joyful in all circumstances. So begs the question… how?

I’ve experienced many difficult friendships in my life. From those big, angry, fall-outs to the quiet distancing. I find the hurt is deep… But I also found three things that have helped me find joy within a broken friendship.

1. Feel the Feels.

If there’s one thing I know about God, it’s this. He wants to know. He wants you to express what you feel to him. From Elijah telling God he wants to die in 1 Kings 19, to the strong reassurance we find in 1 Peter 5:7… God cares for you so deeply.

Broken friendships are hard. It’s okay to be upset and grieve that loss. There is a time for mourning and a time to dance.

2. God Knows.

Understand God knows and is in control. He created you for community, and if you ask him, he will provide. Trust Him in this. He brings people into your life for a reason, and sometimes, painful as it is, they leave for a reason too. The question you’re faced with isn’t “who is going to leave me next?”, it’s “do I hold my friendships in an open palm or a clenched fist?”. Do you trust God to continuously fill your palm with the friendships you need?

3. A Heavenly Perspective

They hurt me. The person I thought wouldn’t ever dare say such things, or do such things, stabbed this metaphorical knife straight through my throat. I can barely speak, choking on the sharp silver blade.

I can’t look at them in public without a sick shame wrapping its cloak around my head. My stomach clenches as people ask what happened and I give a light, evasive answer.

I think about them constantly—painfully whisper the experience to a sparse and chosen few behind closed doors to get a semblance of peace into the situation.

Then, one day, far into the future, I open my eyes and the expanses of heaven invade every sense I have. I am in a gorgeous field, with wildflowers as far as the eye can see. Fresh dew on every blade of grass beneath my feet. I’m dressed in white. Jesus is crowned in fiery glory, upon his righteous throne. And then I hear a voice.

It’s them. That person I had such a hard time with on Earth, in our dead and broken world. The one who I cried so much over, who I got so angry at… They’re calling my name and I’m calling theirs and we both realize… none of it matters anymore. The pain they caused I understand. I also understand my own hand in it. The pain I caused.

We run towards each other, and we are in perfect community. No hard feelings. No shame. No anger.

We may not be able to be friends with everyone while we’re here, on Earth. Sometimes, certain people just can’t be friends (I mean, see Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15). But that’s okay, because they have the Spirit of God in them, same as you.

And one day, we will be able to be friends again… and how beautiful a day that will be.

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How do you wrestle with a broken friendship? Share your wisdom below in the comments!

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