I know I’m not the only one who has felt betrayed by a friend. And when the friendship has been so close and solid, the whole matter can be confusing. Hurtful. And it can be hard to decide how to “be” toward that person.
Yes, we may tumble through a series of emotions. Revenge and pay-backs my enter our minds. We may even want to punish the person for their behavior against us. More wrestling. More confusion. More hurt.
The truth is that our retaliation or negative response won’t serve anyone. We may feel vindicated for a while, but then the sting will remain in us. And that’s what we are stuck with if we choose to act from the flesh rather than faith.
So what do we want to do when people hurt us, betray us, or disappoint us?
Let me first say that when we “love anyway” are aren’t allowing abuse or mistreatment. We aren’t allowing disrespect or unkindness. Instead, when we love anyway, we are coming from a place of strength. It’s a peaceful place where God resides in us. And our treatment toward the offender is less about them and their deeds and much more about us and our character. A character that is modeled upon Jesus and shaped by God and His truth.
Love anyway. Settle into this confident and safe place. And then respond to the person with truth and respect and kindness — because that’s who YOU are. It’s not about what that person deserves. It’s not about getting back at him or her. It’s about standing in your solid character and speaking truth.
I was reminded of this truth just last week. A close and important friend was acting in a way that frankly was very self-centered. The rippling effects of the behavior started hitting me and that’s when I felt uncared for, disrespected, and devalued. That’s not the way friends should treat friends!
I rode the roller coaster of emotions (admittedly, my flesh was taking the joy ride of revenge and hurt). But then, in the middle of the night I awoke with “love anyway” in my heart. Those two simple words carried paragraphs of truth to my soul. The message was the correction I needed — and also really wanted.
So late in the night I made a decision to love this person anyway. To respond to the situation from this place of strength and truth, rather than go negative.
What was the outcome? My friend and I had a very honest and real conversation where we both shared what was going on for us. We both were able to explain how we felt and also what we needed. Our discussion was not flowery. In fact, it was tough at times. However, it created the materials to build the bridge that took us back to the deep and trusting bond we had shared for so many years.
Loving anyway requires us to step back. To consider the ways of Jesus. And then to allow God to lead us forward. Loving anyway is what Paul taught the Corinthians:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
When we allow the Spirit of God to have His way in us, we can love anyway. Even though we may do some roller coaster riding first, we can still get to that solid place of God’s truth and let that be our foundation and the ground on which we stand.
Please share your thoughts below. I value your input and your messages can help so many others.