Have you ever had a friendship fall apart? Have you ever had to heal from the trauma of a lost relationship that ended on bad terms? If you’re like me, you’ve faced betrayal. You’ve had to heal from discovering that a friend deceived you, a family member lied to you, or the person you’re quarantined with doesn’t love you anymore.
Navigating betrayal is painful. It takes time, processing, and lots and lots of grace.
I maneuvered the loss of a friendship two years ago and it caused a lot of grief and pain. Over the course of many months, God worked on my heart to provide healing and show me what it means to accept His grace and offer grace to those that hurt me.
If you’re also grappling with the betrayal of a friend or the loss of a relationship, this story is for you.
Two years ago I walked through the hardest breakup with a friend I’ve ever had. We were both to blame for the fast and steep decline our relationship took, and looking back on everything now, I know if that friendship hadn’t ended when it did, it still would have ended a year later. But living through that was still really hard.
She and I had been great friends for a couple years and our relationship was solid. I didn’t always agree with the choices she made and she wasn’t someone who pointed me to Jesus. However, we chose to respect each other’s beliefs and learned to navigate around that. (This is something I would never recommend now, by the way. Choose your friends wisely and don’t enter into unequally yoked relationships—even platonic ones. The most important relationships in your life should be built on Jesus.)
One night, I confided in her about a situation in my life and it all went downhill from there. For myself, I wasn’t pursuing holiness and I battled with the desires of my flesh. I felt guilty and ashamed, but I wallowed in self-pity and fought harder for my own way. Wrapped up in pride, our relationship took a hit. I learned some things about our friendship through this situation and my trust in her was broken. I felt betrayed.
As the relationship was breaking, I was too. I was devastated that I was losing this person who I had been so close to for several years. I knew our beliefs and our values were different, but I had invested in her and her life. I felt like all of that was for nothing.
GRACE, COMPASSION, AND HEALING
After the friendship was over and in the middle of my grief, I was at church listening to a message about God fighting our battles. In the middle of my battle with sin, betrayal, and my broken friendship, I had focused on charting my own course and failed to bring God into it.
There in that moment, I gave the fight to God:
The battle with my flesh. The unspoken feelings of betrayal and abandonment. It all became His.
I was struggling to forgive my friend and myself, and I knew I needed God’s help. So I decided to start working on my relationship with Him. Before I could focus on earthly relationships with imperfect people, I had to make sure my eternal relationship with the Perfect One was solid.
Once I surrendered my pride and asked God to fight my battle, I felt stronger. My Spirit was renewed day by day.
I started having daily quiet time with Jesus; I apologized to my friend for my own actions and forgave her for hers. Little by little, I started to see the storm clouds move and blue skies appear.
There are three points that I learned from this season of healing that will help you, too:
#1: DEPEND ON HEALTHY COMMUNITY
Surround yourself with believers who carry your burdens. You don’t always have to be the strong one. It’s okay to take a season of healing and allow those around you to support you emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
In Galatians 6:2, Paul writes to the communities in Galatia,
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
This advice still applies to us today.
During my friendship breakup period, my church community and Christian friends were pouring into me in ways I didn’t know I needed. Through their love and support, I saw God’s fatherly love in a way I hadn’t before. It comforted me and helped me not feel alone.
#2: GIVE YOUR BATTLE TO GOD
Ultimately, my bad situation came from the pursuit of sin and I had to reap the consequences of that, but in the end, God used the situation to renew my relationship with Him. It’s important to take responsibility for your part in the fallout, if you had any. After that, give the rest to God.
God can put you directly in the fire and still save you from the flames. He can also allow you to experience the consequences of your actions. Whichever He chooses to do, He always wins and the win is always for His glory. You can trust in this:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
God knew it would come to this. But it’s okay—He has a plan.
#3:BE COMPASSIONATE TOWARD THOSE WHO’VE HURT YOU
I’ll use the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6 to show you the concept of grace and compassion. This is an important scripture to lean on to heal after you’ve experienced betrayal.
2 Kings 6:21-23
When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Should I kill them, should I kill them, my father?”
Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”
So he prepared a big feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master.The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.
At the end of the story, Israel’s army has a chance to get revenge on their enemies, the Arameans. But did you notice that they don’t? Elisha chose to offer compassion, grace and mercy.
There were times after my friendship ended that I felt alone and like everyone was against me. But Elisha’s story reminds me that when God is fighting my battle, I can be confident He has my back.
You can use the grace God has given you to show compassion to others.
Hard moments are going to come, especially in relationships with other people. We’re all imperfect, we all overthink, act pridefully, or make assumptions that aren’t true.
Some of us may even be the ones who have lied to or betrayed a friend. Thankfully, God’s grace doesn’t just run up to the moment that we make a mistake and then stop. It covers us through those moments and helps us extend grace to others.
It’s also important that we learn to accept that grace first for ourselves. If I hadn’t chosen to work on my relationship with God and allowed Him to heal my broken heart, I wouldn’t have been able to truly forgive my friend or grow in my faith and find healing.
So in the lonely moments, whether you’re dealing with a broken relationship or missing the physical companionship of close friends, focus on your relationship with God and steward the grace He’s given you.
He has a plan for your sadness and He’ll use your healing for His glory.
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