Finding Peace in an Exploded Friendship: Stopping the War

A personal friendship exploded.  What once had been closeness dissolved into contempt.

Misunderstandings started it followed by unintentional slights.  Then less than loving reactions which grew into a cycle of hurt and reactions causing more hurt.

 

Photo by enggul

Photo by enggul

 

It would have been easiest to simply walk away but we were forced together in an organization we were both actively involved in.  So the cycle spiraled down until we never spoke a word to each other unless forced to.

After two years, I decided it was enough.  I certainly hadn’t caused all of the hurt but I’d caused some.  I’m not sure who started it or was most responsible.

 

But it made no difference.  I needed to end the war.

 

So, one afternoon in my office, I called her on the phone and said, “Our friendship has been destroyed.  I know I’ve hurt you.  So I apologize and want you to know it was never my intent.  And from my side I’m stopping the hurting right now.”

She responded, “I’m surprised.  I’m not sure what to say.  But thank you for the call.”

And that was pretty much it.  Very short conversation.

I’m not sure if the apology was accepted.  She didn’t say.

And though that’s what I hope it isn’t critical.

Because what has changed is I have a peace about this relationship I haven’t had for two years.

I can be cordial and polite again.  The anger has been extinguished.

And frankly I don’t need to waste any more time figuring out who started it or keeping score of the hurts.

For me the war has ended.

 

Paul wrote, “Live in peace with each other.”  (I Thessalonians 5:13)

 

Peace in a relationship is not the same as love but it far surpasses hate.

 

We’ve all had friendships go bad.  Something hurtful happens.  An angry reaction results.  Then more until the friendship devolves into war.  What once was so fulfilling turns into something so destructive.

The best solution often is to walk away and stop the cycle.

But what about when you can’t?  What about when you’re forced to still see that person often?

 

Then the hurting continues and both become walking wounded.

 

At some point, for our own heart, we need to stop the cycle.  It rarely does any good to determine the initial cause or keep score of the blows.

It only stops when one person says, “I’m sorry.”  Owns up to his side and the hurt he inflicted.

And then peace is allowed to grow.

In us, if we apologize.  We’ve chosen to own our part and end the cycle.  And God honors that with peace, even if the other person doesn’t.  I can’t explain it other than we know God is pleased and he blesses it.

Often, it stops the hurt cycle.  It allows room for healing.  The friendship may never fully recover.  Often there’s simply too much damage.  But at least the shooting stops and further destruction ends.

Sometimes though that still is not enough.  Some people are so injured from previous experiences they just can’t forgive and move on.  What do you do then?  We’ll talk about that in a future series.

For now finding your own peace and inner healing is enough.

But how do we go about making that contact and offering that apology?  That’s scary.  We’ll discuss it next time.

 

When have you suffered through an exploded friendship?  What did you do to find peace?