It was Friday night, and I was alone.
I began the day envisioning a night full of laughter, deep conversation, and good food. But three minutes earlier, my friend had texted me to cancel our dinner plans.
At first, I felt like I understood. She’s been very busy, I told myself. But I couldn’t help tallying up the number of times she had canceled in the past two months: this was the fifth. It felt like too many.
I was beginning to think that maybe there was something she wasn’t telling me. Maybe she just didn’t want to hang out anymore. Maybe I was too boring.
Then I felt angry. Doesn’t she respect me enough to tell me if she has a problem with me? I thought. Why should I keep trying when she clearly doesn’t care? I thought about sending her a passive-aggressive text. I thought about telling her she was a bad friend.
Living in Love
In the midst of my anger, I thought of James’s encouragement to be “quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). I also remembered Jesus’s advice: “If your brother sins against you, go to him and show him his fault. But do it privately, just between yourselves. If he listens to you, you have won your brother back” (Matthew 18:15-18).
Although I was hurt and wanted to put my friend in her place, I knew the healthiest choice was to ask for an open conversation.
At first, I didn’t want to listen, and I didn’t want to forgive, but I gave my friend the chance to share why she had been MIA for so long. As I took the time to let her talk, I learned that she was suffering from a painful illness the past few months. My heart softened. I prayed with her, and I shared how confused and hurt I had felt when she canceled our plans. She understood how I felt, and we both agreed to be more open with each other in the future.
It wasn’t easy to be vulnerable and compassionate when I met with my friend, but it was worth it. If you’re struggling to forgive a friend who has hurt you, take a few moments to pray through these Proverbs from God’s Word to remember what our love towards our friends is worth:
Lord, I don’t feel like forgiving my friend. I feel hurt and angry, and I’d rather just yell or cut my friend off. But I value our friendship too much to destroy it. Please show me how to forgive my friend.
Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offenses. — Proverbs 10:12
God, help me remember the good times in our friendship. Show me how to sensitively approach my friend with my hurt feelings. Help me to be open to hearing the other side of things.
You will keep your friends
if you forgive them,
but you will lose your friends
if you keep talking about
what they did wrong. — Proverbs 17:9
Lord, thank you for loving me well. Thank you for showing me how to love by your example. Continue to help me grow in love each day. Amen.
Let love and loyalty
always show like a necklace,
and write them in your mind. —Proverbs 3:3
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