by: Staci Landis
Friendship. Relationships. Seemingly simple concepts, but relationships are not easy commitments at times.
I have heard it said that you have to be a friend to have a friend. While true in theory, the complexities and dynamics of personalities and individualism can make being a friend or being the kind of friend you want to be quite challenging. I think it really is quite simple, but we make it so difficult. Let me tell you why.
The above photo is a picture of my younger two children. When I look at this photo, I see love, friendship, togetherness, kindred spirits, and joy. However, if you were to spend a few days in my house, you would learn really quickly that this isn't what it always looks like between these two. They argue, fight, complain, disagree, and hurt each other's feelings. Yet, this photo shows the depth of their relationship. This is their true friendship. Those times when they argue or disagree? When it's over, they are off playing together and having the time of their lives. When they hurt each other's feelings? You wouldn't know they did so an hour later.
I have learned something significant from watching our children. They forgive easily. They do not hold grudges. They know when to let things go. They know having fun, working together, and being together is more important than always getting their own way. They don't take the difficulties in life too seriously. And they certainly don't get down on themselves when they are in the wrong with each other. They forgive themselves just as often as they forgive each other.
When I look at my own life and the friendships and relationships that I have now and have had over the years, I realize that the relationships that are over or have drifted apart are those that one of us couldn't forgive the other. Or one of us couldn't look past the mistakes or hurts. Maybe one of us couldn't see through the differences as something to make us special individuals and important assets in the each other's lives. It’s possible that one of us may have held onto any wounds inflicted so personally that it couldn't be recovered. Even when the offender had no intentions of causing hurt. Or maybe to this day the offender does not even know they hurt the other or what went wrong. Often times, I think we couldn't forgive ourselves.
We need to be mature, loving people. We need to stop making our connections with those around us so complicated. We need to truly forgive and forget and move on. I do understand there are extremely difficult circumstances and situations that require a much different approach. There are some hurts that are deep and very complex, however, I am speaking more so about the generalities of life. The things that come up and challenge us and others. The differences in one another that are just differences of opinion or personality differences. The quirks of who we are as individuals and everything in between. We need to be willing to be the bigger person and LET IT GO. We need to offer forgiveness in friendships, in relationships, in the workplace, in the church, in marriage, and in our own hearts.
We were made for so much more than to be bogged down with petty frustrations in life and our frustrations and differences with other people. We will never be able to be effective in the kingdom of God if we are always at odds with others. We will never be effective in the kingdom of God if we are always at odds with ourselves. This is why Jesus said this:
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14, 15 (NLT)
He knows forgiveness is the heart and soul of why He came. He knows forgiveness would be the one thing that we would have to do over and over again. We would not only need to offer forgiveness to others, but accept forgiveness for ourselves when we have made mistakes. His example of taking all of our sins upon himself and forgiving us for everything is the perfect example of true love, friendship and relationship. Can we be brave and strong enough to strive to walk in His example? We cannot do it alone. But we can His help and guidance.
LET IT GO. It's the only way