Navigating the Friendship Dump

Courtesy of photobucket.com

“You’re not my best friend.”

Sitting in the kitchen, I heard my son say those dreaded words to our neighbor boy. Instantly making him apologize, I explained to him that “we” don’t talk to our friends like that. My son apologized, they went back to playing their video game and everything was fine.

Their interaction made me think though. As an adult I’ve had people decide they’re not my “best friend.” It’s never been stated as blatantly as a 5-year-old would, but the sentiment was the same. The rejection stings and I’m left wondering how to move on.

After searching the Bible for answers, this is what I’ve come up:

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Galatians 5:14-15 says, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

As Christians we’re called to a higher standard, one where we look out for the needs of others before our own. We don’t have a choice in how others treat us, but we have a choice how to respond. We can choose to still treat them as a friend even if they don’t see us that way. Our behavior doesn’t have to stop just because theirs has.

Live at peace with one another.

Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

It doesn’t say, “…unless they don’t like you.” It says, “…as far as it depends on you.” That’s all we can do. We can’t make people like us, but we can make them dislike us more. If we’re living in a peaceful way towards them, the relationship can only be helped.

Forgive.

Jesus reminds us that if we don’t forgive those who sin against us, neither will God forgive us our sins. In Luke 17 Jesus teaches us that we’re to forgive as many times as need to be forgiven. There’s no limit, because God doesn’t put a limit on our forgiveness. This might be an act of obedience you have to make multiple times a day. Memories can dredge up feelings of anger. It is at that point that we have to turn that hurt over to God and forgive again. If those hurts pile up and consume us we won’t be able to reconcile if their heart towards us should change.

Look to God for healing.

Psalm 139 describes how intimately God knows us. Before we were born He formed us and knew our days. He is the One best qualified to deal with a broken heart. I know that I can entrust my crushed, bruised spirit to Him and He will return it to me whole and new. Spending time daily with God (praying, reading, worshiping) is vital. We must focus our eyes on God and believe the His truths: I am His child. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a new creature.

Try again.

Just like the rollie-pollies my kids find in the front yard, it’s easy to curl into a tight little ball the next time you feel vulnerable after rejection. We must remember that God has called us to live in community. 1 Corinthians calls us the body of Christ. We need others to fully be who God has destined us to be. One person deciding to live without us, doesn’t mean we need to live the rest of our life without others. As hurtful as these situation can be, they help us appreciate the friendships that remain. Be vulnerable in seeking out new friendships. Don’t allow yourself to hold back, the result will be shallow relationships. We are to sharpen each other, build one another up in our walk with God. Those friendships require trust and openness and God can give you the ability to do that again.

Although it’s not as easy as it was when we were 5-years-old, God can bring us to a place where we can move past rejection and be fine again.

**Faith Barista is talking about rejection today on her blog. Check out what others are saying…

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15 Comments

  1. Susan says:

    Oh, I love your illustration with the rollie-pollies. How true and real! That one thought set off a whole series of ideas in my head! The motto in our house? Try, try again. Lovely post!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks! I so badly just want to pull in on myself sometimes and show my hard outer shell to the world. But, it’s through God alone that I’m able to open up again. Thanks for the comment.

    2. bahava says:

      I agree!! loved that image and idea to apply to life! :)

  2. Rebecca says:

    Oh, how that statement hurts! My son was told “You’re NOT my friend!” during a playdate, and I think it hurt me more than it did him. I could probably learn a thing or two…he just kept playing with his truck and ignored the little br- I mean, boy, who said it to him. ;) Thanks for this post, we can all be reminded to try again!

    1. Melissa says:

      Haha! The mama bear definitely comes out in those situations, which made me even more upset that my son was the one who said it. But, they seem to move on so easily. :)

  3. brett barner says:

    Great rollie-pollie illustration. Totally identify now with them. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks! I read something recently where the author was wondering if God created things in nature specifically so we would have a way to describe our emotions and feelings. It was an interesting idea. Rollie-pollie’s curl up like that so we can show others how we feel. Hmm…

  4. Great catch with your son… so, do you feel like me — that parenting is like a mirror?

    “Be vulnerable in seeking out new friendships. Don’t allow yourself to hold back, the result will be shallow relationships.”

    Preach it, Melissa! I was a rollie-polly for a while.. and it’s still my initial reaction … but, you’re so right, we can find rescue by focusing our energies on those new friendships that are “vulnerable” worthy.

    Thanks for inspiring that thought! So glad you barista’d!

    1. Melissa says:

      Totally! I see things, especially in my oldest, that I’ve struggled with my whole life. I’m trying to figure out how to help him learn to deal with it now so it’s easier for him later.

      1. Janelle says:

        Isn’t that the most frustrating part of parenthood? Seeing yourself in your children, and wanting so badly to keep them from repeating your mistakes? I just keep reminding myself that I can only control so much, and he has to learn some lessons for himself.

        Oh, and I’m going to get Romans 12:18 tattooed on the inside of my arm tomorrow. :)

        1. Melissa says:

          Wow! What you said was so good! It’s true that we can only control them so much and I think you’re doing a great job of that. Haha! I don’t see you ever getting a tattoo! :)

          1. Janelle says:

            Maybe for my 30th birthday…

  5. Julie Todd says:

    This was beautiful. I loved your heart shared here… especially loved about the roly poly bugs.

    It’s my first visit here and I’ve so enjoyed my time.

    I’d love to have you stop by for a visit if you’d like. I love meeting new people.

    It’s great to meet you!
    Julie
    http://jewelsightings.blogspot.com

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