A friend and I got cross ways and our relationship exploded.
We worked together in a nonprofit and shared camaraderie as well friendship. Yet, in our leadership positions we often collided. Our friendship fractured and it seemed no matter what we did it grew worse.
One of us would feel hurt and sometimes respond in less than exemplary fashion. That caused hurt in the other who often responded in kind. So it spiraled out of control leaving us both feeling angry, frustrated and hurt.
On several occasion, when calmed down, I tried to rectify the hurts and apologized. It seemed like some of those overtures were also misunderstood. They consistently were met with a lack of any kind of positive response.
The relationship simply wouldn’t reconcile and to this day still hasn’t.
I had fresh evidence of that again only recently.
I know I’m not alone. So many suffer through marriages that break apart with one spouse desperately trying to keep the relationship together and the other basically blowing it off.
All of us experience these hurts. Maybe you’re living one right now.
So when you’ve done all you reasonably can to restore the relationship and it still remains broken what do you do?
I believe there comes a time when you just choose to live in peace but apart.
When you do you’ll discover some surprises.
You can finally move on in peace in the relationship.
We all make mistakes. I’ve made way more than my share. But when you’ve done your best to reconcile and it’s rejected you can move forward living in peace from your side.
Plus choosing to stop the cycle of hurt gives you peace inside.
Rehearsing hurts, reviving anger and carrying hatred destroys us from the inside.
Choosing to live in peace with someone who’s hurt you frees you to move on and live again. It sets you free from the past so you can build a future.
Jesus said, “In me you will discover peace even though in this world you have troubles.”
A good reminder that even in broken relationships we can find our own peace.
So how do you live in peace with a friend or lover who refuses to be reconciled?
First, realize you can’t control their feelings and actions.
You can only choose your response. They’re responsible for theirs.
Realizing that frees you from the tyranny of self recrimination. When you’ve done all you reasonably can then just move forward in peace.
Second, sincerely do all you can to reconcile the relationship.
Apologize and try to rectify it. But when you have if the other one rebuffs your actions then choose to simply live in peace and let them as well.
This will fill you with confidence which will allow you to move on from the relationship in peace.
Third, at some point, accept that the relationship probably will not be healed.
Sometimes people just choose not to be reconciled. Or their terms for reconciliation are unrealistic. They carry hurts inside you simply can’t fix.
So recognize that and give yourself room to breathe again.
Frankly, wasting more emotional energy on that person becomes draining and fruitless. Use your love to build new relationships with people who can and want to return it.
Finally, in the midst of all this pray for God to bless them.
Pray that they will find his comfort and healing because they truly need it.
You’re not God and I’m not either. I know, a revelation.
But you can’t heal them. So leave them to find their wholeness in God, the only one who can heal any of us.
Paul wrote, “If possible, as much as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.”
A good reminder that we can’t fix all relationships but we can find peace even in the irreconcilable ones.
* John 16: 33; Romans 12: 18
Photo Credit: Uditha Wickramanayaka; Creative Commons