How To Repair Broken Relationships
Do you have a relationship in your life that is causing you pain? Is there one person you wish you could start over with? Relationships can be hard, but broken relationships can bring our daily functioning to a grinding halt. Much like a broken bone — it’s not just the bone that hurts, but the entire body.
Years ago, a friend of mine, who was in her early 30s at the time, was outside playing with some kids after church. The boys were learning how to skateboard in their cul-de-sac. She had never been skateboarding before and decided to give it a try herself. The road had a slight curve and slope downward, so it was perfect for learning. The boys would hop on the skateboard and slowly pick up speed as they went along.
My friend hopped on the skateboard, and as the road curved and sloped, the board went out from under her and she fell backwards. As she fell, her left arm went out behind her, stopping her fall. Her hand hit the pavement and broke her fall. Stunned, she sat still for a moment before dusting herself off and getting back up. There wasn’t a scratch on her.
As the day went on, she began experiencing shooting pains up and down her left arm and noticed that she was losing her range of motion. Eventually, she created a sling out of her scarf and moved her arm to a 90 degree angle. By the end of the evening, her arm was frozen and she could not use it.
The next day at the ER they discovered through an x-ray that when she had fallen, her left hand had carried not only the impact of the fall, but also her full body weight. The impact, too much for her hand alone to bear, had traveled up her forearm and snapped the bone in her elbow! Once again, she was stunned. Her elbow hadn’t even touched the ground. It was the impact of the fall that snapped her bone!
So many times we are stuck in our relationships because we don’t know the cause of the pain. We are left wondering why they are acting or behaving in a certain way because we don’t know where the source of the pain is.
Beloved, the secret to healing a broken relationship is to first discover where the source of hurt is.
In order to discover the cause of the brokenness in our relationships, we first need to do some investigative work without probing around in the wound directly. We don’t want to cause more pain, but we do want to see where the pain is coming from.
In my experience, I’ve found that we experience the most brokenness in our relationships when the root cause of the pain has not been dealt with, leaving the pain to turn into bitterness. Going back to the broken bone analogy—just ignoring it won’t make it go away. Broken bones need to be reset in order to function in the future.
Bitterness is only a symptom of the root cause of pain. It’s the indication that there’s still hurt at the site of the wound. The only way to deal with bitterness is through forgiveness and love. And the only way to approach a broken relationship through forgiveness and love is by the power of the holy Spirit—understand that you were once broken too—and that God the Father sent His Son to extend His forgiveness and love to you.
Let me give you 3 tips to repair a broken relationship:
1. Humbly Ask Questions
Asking questions will help you better understand what the cause of the pain is. Was it something you did or said? Was it intentional or unintentional? Humility will help you not probe the wound further. So often when we try to discover the source of the pain, we become offended by the offense. We might say things like, “Well, that’s not what I meant!” Or “You misunderstood me!”
Beloved, this is what I mean by probing around in the wound directly. These types of responses will only make the wound worse. Humility is needed in order to move forward.
2. Take Responsibility and Ask For Forgiveness
I’ve found that the best way to heal a broken relationship is to listen to the cause of the pain and make no defense. Simply apologize and ask for forgiveness. Many times, you might hear something that you think they should have been offended by or realize that they misunderstood your original intention. None of that matters here. Take responsibility, apologize and ask for forgiveness. This is about repairing the broken parts of the relationship. There will be time in the future to rebuild in a healthier fashion.
3. Do Good and Bless Them
Beloved, it can be so tempting to repay evil for evil, can’t it? Or perhaps better put, it can be so tempting to repay hurt for hurt. “You hurt me so I’m just going to hurt you back” That is the way of the world, and so often our first inclination.
But God has called us to do good and bless others for Him. And for their good. Try it Beloved, and just watch what the Lord will do!
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Published on August 1, 2018.