Q and A / Broken Relationships

Connie from Nashville, TN asks...

Love Our Enemies?

Dear Junebug: How do we handle those who have really hurt us, stolen from us, ruined our reputations, abandoned us and/or continue to harm us? I know that we shouldn't wish them harm even though we want to see justice. Do we pray for them or just pray that God help us to just let it go and let God handle the situation? In Psalms, David prayed evil, horrible things towards his enemies.

Posted in Broken Relationships on Thu, Aug 19th 2010

Pleases Him for You to Love Them!

Dear Connie:

I am currently memorizing Scripture and I purposely picked this Scripture in Luke which contains this verse, “… Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. And pray for those who spitefully use you” ( Luke 6:27-28).  And the reason is, I too have people who I have totally or completely trusted who have betrayed or hurt me in devastating ways. I have found comfort in the following three truths:

First and foremost, I had to learn to forgive. It was a long process and certainly did not happen overnight. I prayed daily, sometimes hourly, for God to give me a heart of love, mercy, and forgiveness toward my betrayers. Every time a negative thought came to mind, I would make myself say out loud something positive, even if I could only find one good thing about that person. At first, I failed the forgiveness test more times than I passed. But the more I practiced blessing rather than cursing the person, the more I noticed a change in me. Finally, forgiveness came.

Second, keep your focus on Him. I have found that if my focus is on Jesus Christ, pleasing Him, loving Him and being obedient to Him, then I am much less apt to worry about the character-destroying spears being hurled at me. An important key to staying this course is to stay out of the path of the spear thrower, and work diligently to not let them draw you back into their web.

And third, you are commanded - not urged nor suggested, but ordered - to love this person. As it says in Luke 6:32, “But what credit is it to you if you love those who love you, for even sinners love those who love them.” Try this; love your enemy because He loves them, and this pleases Him for you to love them.

Concerning King David, he was under Old Testament law, regarding an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But with Jesus’ death on the cross, all of us entered a new covenant which commands forgiveness. If David were alive today, he would be offering mercy and grace rather than seeking Old Testament vengeance.

Connie, I can tell you first hand, if you follow these three truths faithfully, you will have a healthier perspective on future difficult relationships.

Junebug

  

Matthew from Nashville, TN asks...

Not Good Enough

Dear Junebug: This past January my fiance called off our engagement. Throughout the year I've been praying and God has answered specific prayers to whether she is still the one. The problem is we were in constant battle with her parents throughout our relationship. Her parents didn't respect me and they looked down on me because I didn't have money. Please keep in mind I've worked my way through college and I'm currently in Grad school getting a degree in Occupational Therapy. So, full time work has not really been easy to come by. My fiance is scared of what her parents think and always pleases them. I tried to meet with them multiple times just to talk things out, but they would always cancel on me at the last minute. I wasn't going to ask for her hand in marriage, but after being put down and not respected and believing that my fiance was the one for me, I went ahead and proposed to her without asking her parents. I realize I was wrong. But now she is graduating this December and her Father doesn't want me there even though it is a public graduation at Belmont University; and he doesn't want to have anything to do with me, although he has never told me so directly or at any time throughout my relationship with his daughter. I have been my fiance's rock and support through her under grad and now graduate school years. even while we have been broken up. Even still, as I've prayed, I believed that I would be honoring God if I didn't go to the graduation so that her father could have a peaceful visit. Junebug, am I doing the right thing? Should I still keep being faithful? I'm sorry its so long, but there is so much more.

Posted in Broken Relationships on Fri, Dec 10th 2010

Priorities in Order?

Dear Matthew:

First, let me say how sorry I am that you are in this conflict, especially with someone you truly love and want to spend your life with. I can relate somewhat to your situation for initially my future in-laws did not accept me for religious reasons; it was a difficult thing to deal with and to accept. Thankfully, God was present throughout. HIS hand carefully orchestrated all aspects of our relationship, even amidst the challenging times. That being the case, I'd like to give you a few pointers to help you though this trying time.

First, stay on your knees before God. Ask Him for direction and forgiveness so that the root of bitterness will not drive a wedge between you and your future in-laws. You do not want the enemy to steal the joy from that potential relationship.

Second, remember that "this too shall pass." What is going on today will most likely be smoothed out tomorrow if you can offer unconditional love and forgiveness to your fiance's parents. God has always insisted that I be the one who forgives, loves and understands regardless of what has been "done" to me. Through this, I know He is teaching me to be humble; He is teaching me how to love even those who seem to hate me, and He is teaching me to be more and more like He is!!!  I have to admit that I am not a quick learner. Most of the time I put up a good fight to do what I want to do rather than what He commands me to do. Thankfully, I am still learning and He is not done with me yet!

And last, you need to have a heart to heart talk with your fiance to remind her of your place of priority in the marriage relationship. I would advise you to begin your discussions with the Scripture passages from Ephesians 5:22-31. Read them aloud to her, holding her hand and letting her know that your desire is to love, nourish and cherish her the way God intends for you to. That also means you will respect her parents even if they don't respect you. Matthew, when you are in God's family, He requires you to always do what is right regardless of the hurt others may be inflicting upon you. Ask your fiance if she can put God first, you second and her family in third place. It is very important that she understands the priority order of where her family will have to be once you two are married. If she doesn't grasp this concept ordained by God, then I suggest you step back and wait on marrying her.

It may be a little late on whether you should attend her graduation, but in my view, that decision is entirely up to you and your fiance. You could skip it if you think that would keep the peace, or on the other hand, you could go and stay away from her family watching the event from afar. Either way, I believe the final decision has to be made by both of you.

God's blessings on you Matthew. Keep doing what is right by HIM!

Junebug

Leigha from Jackson, Tennessee asks...

Can Girls Really Be Friends with Guys?

Dear Junebug: I am in high school and at the beginning of last year I became really close friends with a guy in my grade; not close to dating or anything, just very close friends. He recently got a girlfriend and ever since we hardly ever talk at all. I recently asked him about it and he basically told me it was out of respect for his girlfriend and that he's sorry he hurt me, but it's not going to change. However, he also said he's still here for me, but not to expect him to call or talk to me. He's a very nice Christian boy and probably the best guy friend I've ever had. Before, I never would have guessed in a million years he'd leave me (and every other girl/friend he has ) behind for a girl. I completely understand that he's not going to text me every night like he used to, but I don't understand why we can't even be friends anymore. Please help.

Posted in Broken Relationships on Sat, Jan 22nd 2011

Yes and No

Dear Leigha:

I have experienced the loss of friends under similar circumstances as you have described, so I can sympathize with you. What I have come to understand is that when we make friends, whether opposite sex or same sex friends, there is always a risk of losing that friendship at some point in time. This is especially true for opposite sex friends, for when they enter into a new dating or romantic relationship that relationship will naturally occupy the majority of their time and we will see less and less of them. Unfortunately, more times than not, having friends of the opposite sex adds undue pressure to the dating relationship causing further distance to occur between you and your opposite sex friend. From my experience, guys have a propensity for dropping female friends when they enter into a new dating relationship as they focus all their time and attention on their new girlfriends.  

My advice is to develop friendships with members of the opposite sex with a dose of caution. Guys can be awesome friends, so opposite sex friends can and will be important to you. But, you have to enter into these friendships knowing that you could be positioning yourself for future disappointment. I also recommend that you strive for more than one friend at a time, for this will give you other options if that one friend disappoints you. I usually have two or three close friends in my inner circle. Then, I have several other friends that I can call on occasionally that aren't as close as my best friends.

I know you are bruised and shocked at  how quickly you were discarded for another. Please realize it has nothing to do with you; it's natural that the new girlfriend wouldn't want him close to another female. As I mentioned, it's happened to me and no doubt many others as well, so you join a large crowd of people who have had to learn the hard way about opposite sex friendships. At present, the best thing for you to do is to move on and diligently work on making new friendships, especially with other girls.  

I also want you to keep in mind that your friend may come back to you sometime in the future, for I know that true friendships will remain when dating or romantic relationships end. True friends are the ones that will always be there for me; they are the ones that I can trust with everything; and they will love me enough to hold me accountable for doing wrong. These friendships will last the test of time. What that means is they will remain my friend in good times and bad, through hurt feelings or arguments that may occur between us and a true friend will be there to support me when I need them most, no matter how much time has passed since I've talked with them last. 

And most important of all, your best and truest friend that will never leave or forsake you for anyone is JESUS. I find myself talking to HIM all the time; many times in the middle of the night when my friends and husband are sound asleep. JESUS never sleeps. He listens and even talks back if we are quiet enough to hear. And one last thing, He is a great friend finder!!!

Your Friend,

Junebug