When Others Hurt Us

Image by Gokil on Unsplash

My friend’s comments and attitude stunned me and left me clamoring for a reply. At first, I had none. An evening excursion I’d anticipated with joy, that I’d set aside time for, paid money for, was quickly turning to regret.

The words tumbling out of my friend’s mouth weren’t only hurtful, they were unjustified. It was almost as if she were searching for things to criticize and condemn. Though I persevered, doing my best to enjoy the rest of our time together, my mind kept rehashing every painful statement.

My emotional reaction would’ve been different had she had been calling out sin, or perhaps lovingly pointing me to growth. Then I would’ve known her remarks came from a place of love. But that didn’t seem to be the case. Every declaration appeared to erupt from a place of … indignation.

Why was she so angry? Did she really view me the way her words implied?

The next day, still nursing the sting from the night before, I was rehashing it all through prayer to God. Every statement she’d made, why it was wrong and unfair, and what each revealed regarding the state of her heart.

About two minutes into my rant, God’s voice swept through my mind: “Be the friend to her you quote pulled from text on green backgroundwant her to be to you.”

In other words, show grace. Recognize that, yes, her words and behavior had been ugly, but there were countless times mine were as well. If I were to list every time I’ve done or said something hurtful to someone I love, I’d be buried in paper and ink.

I never have and never will love others perfectly.

Neither would my friend. Most likely, her behavior the night before stemmed from something completely outside of our encounter. She was probably hurting or experiencing stress or uncertainty in some area. Or perhaps she’d merely slipped into a sinful state. We’ve all done that.

But God’s love and gentle presence remains, and knowing we still have a great deal of growth ahead, He lovingly convicts then picks us up and carries us to that next level of grace.

Philippians 1:6 tells us all who belong to Christ are in a state of progress. We’re teetering someplace between who we once were and who we’ll become. This verse brings great comfort when we’re the ones who’ve tilted back toward sinful behaviors, but this hope-filled promise involves those who hurt us as well.

With every interaction, especially the most painful and disappointing, may we all remember that each one of us are in a state of becoming. God will complete the work in us, and perhaps most importantly, He carries the bulk of the weight.

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Being a Friend Who Stays

Two friends laughing together

Relationships are hard, messy, and at times, utterly frustrating. But they are also necessary. But as my guest, Nike Chillemi shares, we all need friends who will stay. Our friends that need that from us.

Being a Friend Who Stays by Nike Chillemi

To live of life filled with happiness, women must find and keep true women friends. You know what kind of friend that is. A bestie could be your biological sister, a cousin you grew up with, a college roommate, or someone you met later in life, perhaps on the job. She can and does keep a confidence. She’ll tell you if that “hot little red dress” isn’t the way to go, even if you envisioned it making your husband go crazy for you.

It’s even better if you have a small posse of true women friends in the faith. You need to have friendships with women that lift you up and encourage you to go higher in your relationship with the Lord. Do you have friends like this? Are you this kind of friend? It goes both ways.

“A friend loves at all times; And a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17, WEB).

However, what happens when a friend momentarily gets “stuck on stupid” or you do? You said something that triggered them or vice-versa? Many times, this is because one of you is having a bad day and the angst isn’t even about the friendship. It might be safer to become passive-aggressive, catty, or competitive with a friend than with the co-worker who just got the coveted promotion. If the bad mood blows over and one of you or both apologizes…nothing to worry about.

I used to be a first-class murmurer, a whiner and complainer. Believe me it became tiresome to my friends. The Lord has helped me grow in this area, but if something triggers me, I’ll start whining again. However, now that passes much more quickly, and I’m sure my friends are grateful.

What if your friend has become insensitive? If you recently lost your husband and a single friend says, “It’s going to be okay,” this is may feel as if she’s thrown a bucket of cold water on you. In that moment, the best thing to do is take a deep breath and say a quick prayer. She didn’t mean to hurt. If she repeatedly “encourages” inappropriately, give yourself some time to heal and talk to her about it later.

What happens when a friend becomes brusque and non-empathetic regarding something? It could be that she’s “Been there, done that, and has the tee shirt.” She’s “conquered” that thing, is beyond it, and she thinks you should toughen up. This could be because she doesn’t want to revisit the pain of those vulnerable feelings. While you are raw and feeling exposed may not be the best time to confront her. Find another shoulder to lean on. Then come back later to work things out with your friend.

You have to know when to address things and when to let them go, and which friendships to invest in and what ones God is calling you to end. Prayer can help determine that. But you don’t want to give up on a meaningful friendship. By the same token it’s not wise to stay in one, for old times sake, that has become toxic.

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Let’s talk about this! What are some ways you’ve intentionally held tight to your friendships? In what ways have your friends held tight to you? What’s one action step you can take from today’s post? Share your thoughts, stories, and examples in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

You may also enjoy:

When Others Reject Us

How to Maintain (Imperfect) Friendships

If you enjoyed today’s post, I encourage you to sign up for my free, quarterly e-mailing! Subscribers receive image of cover for study based on 1 Timothygreat, free content sent directly to their inbox along with a free, 36-lesson study (ebook form) based on truths presented in 1 Timothy (sent separately). (If you signed up and haven’t yet received your free study, please contact me through this website so I can get that to you!) You can sign up HERE.

 

Get to Know Nike!

Like so many writers, Nike N. Chillemi started at a very young age. Her first major work was a Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned as a little girl (colored might be more accurate) about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista with a humorous side. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes Author photo for Nike Chillemiher bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMRUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network. Find her online at her blog, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on @NikeNChillemi.

Cover image for Blood Speaks by Nike ChillemiCheck out her latest release, Blood Speaks:

Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a one-week bridal shopping vacay in Maryland she jumps at it.

Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, Ronnie sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake, Maryland. Their joyous stay at the rustic yet luxury Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder with tendrils and a clandestine motive stretching back to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. It goes without saying, Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be. He’s joined by Sandra’s employer, conservative political activist Ben Cohen. No obstacle can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha, his new bride.

 

 

Christian Friendship

Photo by Serge Bertasius taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Serge Bertasius taken from freedigitalphotos.net

How does Christianity translate into our friendships? Author Cherie Burbach offers the answer in today’s guest blog post. As you read, keep in mind those friendships you want to nurture, and remember the ones you want to begin too.

But first, I want to announce the winner of last week’s give-away. Elizabeth Dent, congrats! You won a copy of Darlene Franklin’s latest release, Christmas Mail Order Angels. I’ll be contacting you soon to chat about the best way to get that to you.

For those of you who didn’t win, don’t fret; you have a chance to win an equally awesome novel today!

GIVE-AWAY ALERT! Cheri is giving away one free copy of her latest release, 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends. A winner will be randomly selected from the comments and shipping is only available to those living in the continental US.

Christian Friendships by author Cherie Burbach

Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.

One reason I like writing about relationships is because it’s universal. No matter who we are or where we come from, we all share a desire to be liked, to feel cared about, and be respected. We just want to get along. Despite the strife and arguments the world experiences, in the end we really do want peace.

As Christians, it can be difficult to show our best to people. And yet, we must do this.

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photo taken from freedigitalphotos.net by tiramisustudio

John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

A very wise friend of mine once said, “We’re called to love one another. Not like each other.” Loving is harder. It involves rising above pettiness and the exterior of someone’s personality and looking instead at that person the way God would. God doesn’t always agree with our choices but He loves us. We can do the same. We can simply open our hearts and move beyond the things we don’t agree with, leave judgement to God, and show love. Friendship is the first step to that.

About 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends:

51xZ3DOlc5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The more friends you have, the more you’ll have the right people in your life to give you the support and connection you desire. Having more friends means you’ll consistently connect with new people and also keep the good friends you already have. If your friendships don’t seem to stick, you’ll be making friends and losing them quickly. The key to having more friends is increasing the number of people you meet on a regular basis and holding on to the great pals you already have.

This book contains one hundred suggestions on how to make new friends and also strengthen the friendships you already have. The tips are varied, with suggestions on how to meet new people interspersed with ideas for nurturing your new and existing friendships.

Cherie Burbach has written about relationships for over a decade at places like About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, Christianity Today, and more. She’s penned 17 books, her latest of which is 100 Simple Ways to Have More Friends. Visit her website for more info, cherieburbach.com.

Let’s talk about this. Lately, numerous women have toldlivingbygracepic.jp me they have a difficult time forming friendships and making connections with other women. I think there are numerous reasons for this (and for those who are local, I’ll be talking about this at an upcoming Moms group meeting in January), more than can be addressed in one blog post. But I do think forming and maintaining meaningful connections takes work, and perseverance. And it requires us to embrace risk, because reaching out can be scary.

Do you feel you have meaningful connections, and if so, do you have tips to offer others who may not feel the same? If not, is there something you can do this week to connect with others? Also, look at your relationship history. Do you tend to cycle through friendships or maintain relationships? How do you handle conflict when it arises? What do you do when a friend hurts you? Do you walk away or do the hard work to move past the hurt and deepen the relationships?

Heavy subject, but an important one, I feel. Share your thoughts and experiences in the commends below, because we can all learn from one another!

Standing Together

Today’s post comes from a very dear forever friend of mine, Robin Prater. I love using the term “forever friend” because it reminds me not to take my relationships for granted. It reminds me to work at them, to make time for them, to hold tight to them. This is a strange idea in our independent, individualized society, but it is a biblical one. In fact, the Bible extends beyond friendship, uniting believers across the globe into one family.

Our family has moved frequently in the sixteen years Steve and I have been married, but through the moves, I’ve determined to hold tight to my friends from the past. This desire arose after reading a passage in Scripture where Paul named a number of believers, sending his greetings. Basically, throughout his travels, Paul took the time to stay connected with the people from his past.

I’ve also learned my efforts to stay connected with people from my past have nothing to do with their actions. Meaning, I am called to love and reach out, even if others don’t reciprocate because true love is not conditional–isn’t based on the actions of others.  God says, “As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This means God expects me to do all I can to follow the way of peace and stay united with His family. If they reciprocate, lovely! If not, I am to love anyway.

Standing Together in Faith and Friendship by Robin Prater

Okay, how blessed was Daniel? I mean really, he was surrounded by friends who were not only great examples, but stood by his side in faith. To have that circle of friends can give you the encouragement and inspiration you need to make it through any situation.

“Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me-a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13

I was taking some time reading in Daniel and it was his relationship with his friends that stood out to me in the very first chapter. They all had a strong faith in God and they walked that faith. I mean, here they are together and all of a sudden they are thrown into a scary situation. All throughout the story of Daniel you see no fear from these young men. King Nebuchadnezzar would have scared the daylights out of me, but for these young men they stood firm in their faith. At no point were they even disrespectful or rude. They remained kind and compassionate even though their entire lives were changing before their eyes.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

They were selected because of their stature, strength and wisdom. These were good-looking men. Wise young men. Men with faith that is not wavering. I look at our world today and see how difficult it is for young adults trying to find their way in the world, but were things really all that different for these young men? I think the difference is they were focused on God. They were dedicated to Him and were ready to surrender all for their King of kings.

“Walk with the wise and become wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” Proverbs 13:20

So, these young men are held captive. I wonder if they were even able to say good-bye to their families. They are now being trained to learn the Babylonian language and literature of this time. They were to be trained for three years then they would be ready for royal service. Can you imagine? This king wants to change everything about these young men. He even changes their names! Daniel is now called Belshazzar. Hananiah is now called Shadrach. Mishael is called Meshach and Azariah is now called Abednego. These Hebrew men are facing change of every kind. Nothing is the same, except one important aspect of who they are. They are children of God. Their faith remains therefore they are complete in Him and Him alone. Nothing else matters to them. They could have ended up anywhere. Their faith is so strong. I want a faith like that. I want that unwavering faith that remains even in times of fear and change. They had no idea what was facing them.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I too look at Timothy. He had a wonderful friendship with Paul. Paul was his accountability partner. He was his teacher and example. They were friends who could talk, laugh and walk this road together, lifting one another up in encouragement. I love these words:

“Preach the Word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2

“But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 4:5

That too is what, Daniel, did. He walked with his friends in faith, knowing that God had a plan and they were safe within His hand. Friends must love one another enough to correct each other when we are wrong and love them enough to give them your heart. These friendships were lasting because they took time for one another. They didn’t put each other off. They made themselves available.

These young men were great because of their faith in God, but also in the fact they had godly friendships. They had friends that were willing to stand with them and not cause them to stumble. Can you imagine the late night talks they had? The laughter and closeness that brought them through the days of struggle?

Look at David and Jonathon, Ruth and Naomi, and Elijah and Elisha. These were great and lasting friendships.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

We can look to these powerful friendships for our example. We must be the kind of friend we want to have. We are blessed with the most amazing friend of all, Jesus Christ. He gave His life for you and me. He will walk with us through every season of life. He is the Friend of all friends. The wonderful thing is, He chose us! He chooses us for a friend. That should make us feel overwhelmed in love. To be called His friend should be the greatest compliment of all.

“You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. You didn’t choose Me. I chose you.” John 15:14-16a

Robin Prater is a sinner saved by grace who knows the beauty of God’s redemption. She hopes her blog, the Robin’s Nest, brings glory and honor to Him who forever continues to bless this girl with His love. She would love to hear your story. She too would be humbled to hear how this artice has touched your heart. Leave a comment here or reach me at srprater@gmail.com. She loves how God brings His people together through experiences and passions. We can make a difference in the lives of others if we will make ourselves available and reachable to others. Like you she is a work in progress. Imperfect through her sins, but perfected through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ