Friendships. Part 3

 Friendships. Part 3

Forgive and seek forgiveness.

Be willing to forgive your friends after they hurt you, and ask them to forgive you after you hurt them. Know that this is not an option; it’s something you must do to maintain healthy friendships. Remember that God has forgiven you and expects you to take His call to forgive seriously. Rely on God’s help to forgive and seek forgiveness, no matter what your feelings, and know that He will help you do so. Pursue reconciliation as well with those friends who are willing to restore their friendships with you.

Overcome destructive friendships.

Try to prevent being mistreated in friendships by depending on Jesus (rather than other people) to meet your deepest needs, asking God to help you become wiser and more discerning, being willing to trust others after someone betrays you, and seeking out healthy friends.

Understand that a healthy friend: brings her own identity to the relationship, supports rather than acts as a caretaker, is honest and truthful but not critical, can make decisions for herself but does not need to make decisions for everyone around her, honors your other friendships while having a clear vision of the purpose God had when He brought you two together, does not try to manipulate you but encourages you instead, believes the best about you, forgives but does not accept recurring destructive behavior from someone who does not repent. Decide to give your heart in close friendship only to women you can trust to hold it well.

Know when to let go.

If you have lost a friendship because of another person’s choice, accept that you can’t control another person and don’t try to force a relationship when she doesn’t want one. If you’re dealing with a destructive friendship in which your friend is mistreating you and won’t change, realize that the best choice for you to make may be to let go of that relationship.

After a friendship ends, try to learn from the experience by asking yourself: “How could I have done this relationship better?” and “What can I learn from this painful experience and apply to my other relationships?” Allow yourself to go through the grieving process for a friendship you’ve lost. Ask God to use the loss of a friendship to refine your weaknesses and draw you closer to Him.

Reach out in crisis.

When you’re going through a crisis in your life (such as divorce, widowhood, a sick child, a death in the family, or your own illness), don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends for support. When your friends are going through a crisis in their lives, reach out to them to offer them some of the hope and help they need.

Pass on what you know.

Become a mentor (either formally or informally) to younger women who could benefit from what you’ve learned about building grown-up friendships. Model love in the midst of hurt, offer support in the midst of trials, pray for their friendships, and occasionally include them in fun activities with you and your own friends.

Press on.

Persevere through the challenges of struggles in your friendships, knowing that God will use all of your experiences to help you become more and more like Jesus.