– by Hannah De Marco
It was Friday night and there was nothing to do. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. It was meant to be a night of laughter, deep conversation, and good food. But three minutes earlier, my friend had texted me to cancel our dinner plans. At first, I felt like I understood. She’s been very busy, I told myself. But I couldn’t help tallying up the amount of times she had cancelled in the past two months: this was the fifth. It felt like too many. I was beginning to think that maybe there was something she wasn’t telling me. Maybe she just didn’t want to hang out anymore. Maybe I was too boring. Then I felt angry. Doesn’t she respect me enough to tell me if she has a problem with me? I thought. Why should I keep trying when she clearly doesn’t care? I thought about sending her a passive-aggressive text. I thought about telling her she was a bad friend.
Living in love
In the midst of my anger, I was reminded of Proverbs 10:12, which says that “love forgives all offences.” I also thought of James’ encouragement to be “quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.” – James 1:19. I didn’t want to listen, and I didn’t want to forgive, but I gave my friend the chance to share why she had been cancelling for so long. As I took the time to let her talk, I learned that she was suffering from a painful illness the past few months. My heart softened. I prayed with her, and I even had the chance to share how confused and hurt I had felt when she had cancelled our plans. She understood how I felt, and we both agreed to be more open with each other in the future. It wasn’t easy to set aside my hurt and frustration when I met with my friend, but it was worth it.
Look to the Bible
If you’re struggling to forgive a friend who has hurt you, take a few moments to pray through these Proverbs from God’s Word to remember what our love towards our friends is worth:
Struggling to forgive?
Lord, I don’t feel like forgiving my friend. I feel hurt and angry, and I’d rather just yell at them or cut them off. But I value our friendship too much to destroy it. Please show me how to forgive my friend. “Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offences.” Proverbs 10:12
Remember the good times
God, help me remember the good times in our friendship. Show me how to sensitively approach my friend with my hurt feelings. Help me to be open to hearing their side of things and to genuinely forgiving them. “You will keep your friends if you forgive them, but you will lose your friends if you keep talking about what they did wrong.” – Proverbs 17:9
Love others like God loves you
Lord, thank you for loving me well. Thank you for showing me how to love by your example, and continue to help me grow in love each day. Amen. “Let love and loyalty always show like a necklace, and write them in your mind.” – Proverbs 3:3