When you’re faced with disagreements or difficulties in a friendship, how do you respond?
Do you “Fight or Flight?”
I tend to be a runner. When I’m hurt or things become hard, I withhold my feelings. I don’t take the time to talk things through and this causes me to slowly pull away. This creates distance within the friendship and eventually, this distance grows until the friendship fizzles away.
Have you ever believed the lie that you should only surround yourself with “positivity?” And that positivity is more important than pursuing a deep friendship?
Some friendships may require you to give more than you get. While this may be hard, it reminds you that not everything is about you. It gives you an opportunity to pour into someone else and to give without a return. This will grow and challenge you to still find fulfillment in that type of relationship.
I’ve walked away from friendships prematurely. I should have fought more for the friendship and not been so quick to pull away. I have nowhere near perfected this but it’s something I’m trying to work on. Why?
Because in my relationship with Christ, I am that difficult person and He hasn’t given up on me. Christ has shown love and compassion and I am called to give my love in the same way.
Do you know someone who doesn’t invest as much time into the friendship like you do?
Do you know someone who is stubborn and won’t admit when they’re wrong, even when they know you’re hurt?
Do you know someone who reaches out only when they need something from you?
These people are difficult but they aren’t toxic. Toxic people are those who purposely seek out ways to hurt you and others around them. Difficult people are the ones who are working through hurt in their own life. So we shouldn’t give up on them.
Can I gently remind and encourage you that Jesus didn’t give up on the difficult people?
So neither should you.
Peter was friends with Jesus and he failed miserably. Yet, Jesus didn’t take that as a sign to dump Peter off to the side. Jesus chose to trust and love Peter after the ultimate sign of betrayal. However, Jesus forgave, saw the good and entrusted Peter with a lot. He did not give up on Peter when things became hard.
Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
These relationships, whether they’re friends, family members, or spouses need one thing; your love. They don’t need you to run away from them. They don’t need you to dwell on who they are or aren’t.
We need to remember that these people aren’t perfect, just like you and I.
You will have friends who hurt you. You will have friends who will make you question your trust in them. This doesn’t mean they’re toxic. It means their human. I wish I could stand here and tell you I’ve never failed as a friend, but that’s simply not true. And neither is it true for you.
As you read this today and think about your most difficult relationship, does frustration and a desire to quit come to mind? I want to encourage you that although that relationship may feel draining, God can still use you. He may use you to speak truth and encouragement over their lives. He may use you to show them what patience and grace look like. And remember, there more than likely was a time when you were the difficult person and there were people who never gave up on you.
This piece was originally published on Heather’s blog.
Heather Margiotta is a Christian Wife and Mother who has a love for relationships, adoption, spiritual growth, and helping others through grief. Heather’s life motto is “To love the life you live, by seeing the good between the chaos.” You can find her blog here and her Facebook here.