I often jokingly ask God to make cutting people off a gift of the spirit. I ask because it’s an ability that I am well endowed with and bestowing upon it the label of “gift of the Spirit” would make it one less flaw that I have to work on. But this isn’t really about cutting people off as much as it is about the catalyst for me cutting people off.
Friendships are few in my life but when I call someone a friend, I am loyal to them. I care about them. I love them deeply. I defend them in public and I chastise them in private. I am super protective of their feelings and a great supporter of their growth. I sometimes find myself in a position that calls for me to love who they love and dislike who hurt them. I’m that type of friend.
Still, friendships haven’t always been good to me. I’ve had people through pure maliciousness destroy, in minutes, friendships which took years to build. I’ve had friendships dissolve over simple miscommunications and misperceptions and I’ve also had those friendships which became less as a result of a change in seasons.
Today, I focus on the dissolution of friendships which follow the first two patterns. These are the dissolutions which are painful and cause you to question why a break away, sometimes from a human being who does not even come from the same bloodline with you, hurts this much.
Was it ever meant to hurt this much? I think when one really understands what friendship is one recognizes that sometimes, broken friendships MUST hurt.
We can examine David and Jonathan’s relationship to understand what friendships really are.
1And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.
3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
1 Samuel 18:1-4
If ever there was a portion of Scripture that can truly help us bring definition to the word “friendship” this is it. From this, we glean that friendships are not mere, fickle bonds. They are deep, spiritual and emotional bonds.
David and Jonathan were so tight that they loved each other like they were each other’s own souls. This is the kind of love that says, I will lay my life down for you. I will preserve you as I preserve myself and I will speak to you as I desire to be spoken to. This alone does great justice to but the description that I love best about their relationship is, “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David.”
If you’ve ever seen or touched a knitted garment or quilt you’ll know how strong the bonds are. Can you imagine pulling this apart? Now imagine your friend’s heart and your heart knitted together and being pulled apart roughly until the bond is broken. What you just imagined is what happens when a friendship goes wrong. It is like a knitted garment being roughly pulled apart. You can hear the rips and you can feel the force applied to create the rips.
This is no doubt something painful. This is no doubt something that you would want to fight and rebel against. You don’t want to feel the pain. You want to run away from it or hurt someone else, if you’re like me, when I was stark raving mad. I was hurt. I was upset. I was angered. I cried. I fought back and I eventually became a brick wall and for a long time, I did the same. But as I’ve matured I’ve decided not to place emphasis on what the other party/parties do but to place emphasis on how I contributed to the breakdown and how I react to the hurt. As I’ve matured, I’ve recognized that even broken friendships can be turned into something beautiful.
For one, I see broken friendships as an opportunity to understand the gift of Christ’s death on the cross and even more so as an opportunity to seek to emulate him by extending unto those who’ve hurt me the grace, mercy and forgiveness that Christ extended to me. It is an opportunity to grow beyond the definition of love that says, that it has boundaries; I will love you only when you are good to me or only when I understand your actions. It is an opportunity to say that I will continue to love you and I will continue to pray for your prosperity.
Secondly, broken friendships can help reveal your shortcomings and flaws. When you focus on your contribution to the breakdown of the relationship as opposed to what the other person did wrong, you find yourself in a position where you can see you clearly. When you are revealed, take it as an opportunity to grow as an individual. You may need to right something that you did wrong or you may need to learn to cope and better manage your reactions to certain situations.
Beauty can be found in the most unusual of places, and if you look closely you can find the beauty stuck between the crack of your broken heart after a friendship has gone wrong.