Tag Archives: forgiveness

the heart of friendship

Melissa @ awriteheart.com[blockquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”center”]Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”[/blockquote]

We NEED friends.

The Bible talks a LOT about relationships, and about the needs that we have that only a true friend can provide. God made us for relationship, and right from creation we read about people needing people. Adam and Eve, Moses and Aaron, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Christ and His disciples, Christ and God the Father…The Bible is full to the top with people who needed other people. Even God desired fellowship with man – a thought I can’t even wrap my mind around – but it just goes to show that we weren’t made to go it alone. I’m naturally introverted, so I gravitate to solitude. Instinctually I want to be alone, and I want to prove my worth by taking on challenges by myself. But God made me to need others, and despite my tendency to make an island of myself it’s important for me not to think that I should do life all on my own. We need each other for so many reasons…For accountability, for companionship, for joy, for sharing heartbreak, for corporate worship, for encouragement, to learn humility, to learn about what insights others have into the heart of God. God gave us friendship for our benefit!

Friendships change because other people change.

[pullquote cite=”C.S. Lewis” type=”right”]“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” [/pullquote]Friendships begin under all kinds of circumstances and conditions, and it’s unlikely (if not impossible) for those conditions to always remain the same. A friend who had a particular need at one time will more than likely grow out of that need; a friend who was strong at one time may stumble into a period of weakness; a friend who was always available may become busy and preoccupied with other things – and so on. We know in our HEADS that people change and that their circumstances change, but it’s difficult to swallow when a friendship we value changes. A dear friend of mine always says that there are “seasons” of friendship – even endings of friendships – because all of our lives are in a constant state of flux. Change may not be what WE always want, but so often it’s what a friend needs.

Friendships change because WE change.

Are you different than you were when you were seventeen years old? Of course you are. We all have seasons of life which will dictate our needs, and we tend to seek out friends that can fulfill those needs. It sounds pretty selfish, but we all seek community with those who understand us best. My daughter was in sixth grade this past year, and as far as friends are concerned she did a lot of growing up. She had a group of friends at school, and she ended up deciding that they weren’t people that she wanted or needed to be around – so she kindly started sitting with another group of people and integrated herself into a new group. That’s no small feat for someone her age! It showed me something important – that it CAN be done. Our needs can and will change, and we can kindly engage in new friendships that better fit us – all without animosity and drama.

Some friendships exist not because WE need them, but because someone else does…So we need to consider what God has for us in those relationships. There are friendships that are REALLY messy and inconvenient, but God can show us so much about ourselves and about Him through those friendships. Let’s be careful not to count out the people that are hard work to be friends with…Those might be the people who need us most.

BFFs are few and far between.

To find a friend who understands not only what you’re going through but who you really are is rare and precious. I’ve only had a handful of people over the course of my life who I’d say were “best” friends. They are the ones who I let see me at my worst, the ones who lovingly tell me when I’m wrong, the ones who encourage me to be the woman God wants me to be, and the ones who stand by me during my own seasons of weakness – times when I give nothing back. They are friends who can see how I feel without my having to say anything, and who know what I need before I realize it myself. If you have a true BFF, cherish them and be a great BFF in return!

It takes one to know one.

Good friendships come from two peoples’ involvement, not just one. Granted, there are times when one person or the other will bear more of a load, but overall a friendship needs to be a two way street. It’s easy for us to analyze the quality of friendship based on someone else’s performance, but we can’t forget to evaluate whether we are being good friends ourselves.

Friends will let us down because they’re people.

No matter how good our friends are, they WILL let us down – because they’re human. I’m not saying that we should overlook it when friends consistently treat us poorly, but we should expect some imperfection – and at times let it roll off. The trade off is that we, too, will let our friends down, as well-intentioned as we might be, and those friends will hopefully do the same for us.

Jesus is our ultimate example.

[pullquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”right”]”Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”[/pullquote]One thing that I cherish most about Christ is that He is predictable – always good, always loving, always just, always righteous. No matter how I change, He is the same. He’s reliable, eternal, invested, perfect…PERFECT. His expectations of His friends always remain the same, too – simply obey (John 15:14). That’s a tall order, but I can rest assured that His expectations will never vary.

During His ministry He called Himself a friend to those closest to Him, and He laid down His life for them. Even before He was crucified for the sins of man He laid His life down for those around Him – He was patient, kind, forgiving, generous, self-sacrificing, sympathetic, honest, gentle, loving, and endlessly seeking the souls of others.  He calls us to do the same – to lay our lives down for our friends. THIS is true friendship. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

[blockquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”center”]“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”[/blockquote]

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Leaning on Jesus, Melissa[/custom_headline]

[content_band style=”color: #fff;” bg_image=”http://www.awriteheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/48352229_caf6c84ceb_z.jpg” parallax=”true” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0; color: #fff;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Our July Giveaway Just Got Better – AGAIN!!![/custom_headline]With each post we publish in July, Colette will add ONE MORE ITEM to this month’s giveaway! As of this post, the giveaway includes Godiva Chocolates, a SURPRISE gift from Anthropologie, and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee!

There are THREE WAYS TO ENTER!!!
1. Subscribe to our email newsletter during the month of July – click HERE!
2. Follow us Instagram – click HERE!
3. Tag a friend on our Facebook wall and encourage them to follow, like, or subscribe – click HERE!

You CAN be entered more than once! SUBSCRIBE, FOLLOW, and TAG NOW!!!
[/content_band]
Feature image attribution: flickr photo by Dani_vr http://flickr.com/photos/dani_vazquez/8261614253 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

five ways to know your spouse is repentant after infidelity

Colette @ awriteheart.comIt felt as if I had entered a privileged, sacred moment and that I did not belong. I watched as this big, strong young man got onto his knees in the counseling room. He crawled over to his wife. The tears were running down his cheeks and with sincere apology and repentance, in body and in voice, he begged her for forgiveness; for the infidelity, for not putting her first, for not loving her like she deserved.
She wasn’t expecting this brokenness. She had never seen it. She looked up at me as she held his head on her lap. Panic and fear filled her voice and she asked “How do I know if this is real?”

It’s almost easier to deal with someone who is not repentant. It hurts but it’s pretty much cut and dry. But what about when your spouse commits to change and is truly repentant? I will say this with boldness: all broken marriages can be reconciled through true and sincere repentance.

All people can be sorry but not all people are repentant. How do you know if repentance is real?

  1. Behavior changes. A person who is sorry and wants to change does. A truly repentant person does not go back to the old way of doing things.
  2. There are no more secrets. No passwords, computer, whereabouts are off limit to the spouse. Nothing. Trust is rebuilt by being open about everything.
  3. Repentance is evident every day. It looks like this: Kindness always. Kindness no matter what. Kindness with patience.
    Saying the words “what do you need me to do?” to your spouse and living the answer out. (Come on, wounded spouse, the request must be doable and legal! )
  4. Patience and Love prevails. It takes a while to rebuild. A repentant person will patiently and lovingly continue in 1-4 indefinitely. No time limits. Not from a “have to” mentality but a “want to” mentality. Patience and love describe good relationships.
  5. A repentant spouse will be open to wise counseling. Couples counseling is usually very important in order to rebuild. It helps figure out what happened and how to prevent it. Often wounds are deep and can cause skewed perceptions. A trusted third party can gently walk people through the process of healing.

[pullquote type=”right”]God the Father is the glue that holds a marriage together. [/pullquote]I recently heard the words “children are the glue that hold a marriage together”. I disagree. God the Father is the glue that holds a marriage together. It is God who gives us the handbook for successful relationships, for instruction on how to forgive, what it takes to be a loving, kind and patient partner. He sets the standard for unconditional love and reconciliation. He shows us how and it is God who gives us the ability to do what is required. God through Jesus set the example as this: He is slow to wrath, He separates the person from the sin, His only condition is faithfulness and even then the door is always open for repentance, He is long suffering and so very patient. He is forgiving and kind. He is an amazing model to his bride, the church.

One of the most beautiful verses in Scripture is Isaiah 61, verse 3: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. It’s a prophecy which tells us why Jesus will come to earth. Then in Luke 4, Jesus himself quoted from Isaiah 61 and said “This day is the Scripture fulfilled…” One of the reasons the Messiah came is to create beauty from ashes! How is it even possible for anything beautiful to come from ashes?? Well, a destroyed and completely broken marriage can become whole, loving and functional again. It’s a promise and it comes through true repentance which lays the foundation for true forgiveness. That is beauty at its best!

~He Makes Beautiful Things, Colette~