Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
I had a friend once who would never say that anything was bothering them, even when their demeanor (the way they carried themselves) said otherwise. Like most men, I tend to want to fix things when I notice that something is wrong, so I would ask a simple question, “What’s wrong?” I would expect a response like, “I’m sad because…” or “My grades aren’t that good…” or something, anything. But, instead, what I got from her was an angry, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!” Productive, right? The gist of what she was telling me was that I was most likely the cause of whatever it was that was bothering her, and that I should be fully aware of how my behavior, or words, caused her misery. This of course led to many fights during our years of friendship. The result? We both became unhappy in the relationship, and it broke apart. We had been friends for over nearly a decade.
Why are we humans so stubborn? Why do we insist on always being right, and condemning those who we are sure wronged us in some way? Why do we fight with friends over petty things? It seems the value of relationships is being placed more and more on how people make us feel, rather than on shared ideals, experiences, culture, and dozens of different attributes. Friendships take work, and that means communication is essential.
King Solomon, a wise king-dude, put it this way, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” In other words, stop holding on to grudges. It will only ruin the relationships you have, and will cost you relationships you should have. Be open and honest with your friends. I’m not saying to go and pick fights. And, I’m not saying you should complain about everything (see previous devos). But, when you are hurt by a friend, someone you value, you need to approach them for a conversation about what is going on. Holding on to the grudge only drives a wedge into the friendship, and you will lose those who should matter most to you.
So, today, and every day, practice forgiveness. Talk things over when friends hurt you. It’s an act of love, not weakness. Strengthen, and perhaps restore, your friendships.