The LORD is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.

He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve.

– Psalm 103:8-10

It all started with a simple question from a friend while we chatted over lunch.  She asked how a mutual friend of ours was doing.  What I could have said – and should have said – was that the friend is doing well (which is true), but to my dismay lots of other thoughts came tumbling out instead. 

Although I didn’t say anything bad about our mutual friend (that we both like), I shared disappointments I felt about the friendship I’d had with her.  Maybe you have friendships that have disappointed you, too?  I thought I’d made inner peace with the issues that bothered me, but after hearing myself share them with my friend at lunch I realized that I needed to deal with them better. 

The best thing for me to do was pray about these things.  In addition to praying about the issues and asking God to help me sort things out, I also felt bad about having talked these things with someone else and needed to confess.  I’ll make another confession here… despite feeling badly because I’d talked about this friendship with another friend, I was also appreciative that I had a friend to talk to and part of me wonders if sometimes it’s ok to talk about things like this when it’s in the proper context of conversation and done in a respectable way.   I’m still pondering that one.  Any thoughts from any of you readers?

Back to the point of this…After thoughts surfaced that I’d thought I’d tucked away in my head, I prayed for God’s insight, perspective, and guidance.  I felt like I’d been taken advantage of in our friendship, although I don’t think my friend meant to take advantage of me.  Praying to God helped me realize that I had apparently seen our friendship as more than it was.  When I realized my friend didn’t see or pursue our friendship the same way I did, my feelings were hurt.  There had been many times I’d gone out of my way to help her, and I considered her one of my closest friends!  It was clear now she didn’t feel the same way about me.  Surely I needed to address this in some way, but how?

 1) Should I share my feelings with her?  She doesn’t realize I feel the way I do because she didn’t share the same perspective of our friendship to begin with.  Should I be open and honest and tell her how I feel?  2) Maybe this is an unhealthy friendship. Should I let it be ‘pruned’ away?  3) How do I proceed from here? 

Well, God in all His goodness, knowing I’m a ‘verse nerd’ spoke to me the following verse from Psalm 103:

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

Did you get the message in that? 

1) God doesn’t accuse us for everything we do. (My thoughts go to thinking about all the things He could accuse me of!) 

2)Despite all we do that angers Him, He doesn’t harbor his anger forever.  My studies of the Bible show that He addresses His anger fairly and just, then lets it go and moves on. 

3) He doesn’t treat us as we deserve for the many sins we commit.  He doesn’t repay us in kind for the bad we do or have done.  DOES THAT SPEAK TO YOU?!?!

When I look back over my life, I’m SO THANKFUL He didn’t judge me on my past or continue to accuse me of my wrongdoings; and I’m most grateful that He hasn’t repaid me as I deserve for things I’ve done!!! 

So how does this relate to my situation with my friend?  It tells me I’m to treat her the same way my loving Father treats me.  After all, she’s His child, too, and deserves the same love and grace that’s been given to me. 

As these thoughts came to light in my mind, peace and relief settled within my heart.  I didn’t like being in angst over unsettled and unresolved feelings and I didn’t know how to resolve them on my own.  I’m so glad I turned to the Lord because I was preparing to take matters into my own hands, but He showed me I needed to trust them into His.  My job is treat others as He treats me with love and grace – not continuing to accuse others of wrongdoings; letting go of hurt and negative feelings toward others; and not treating others as I feel their sins deserve, but to trust God with their sins (and mine) and treat them with love, instead.  I won’t ‘prune’ this friendship or strategize how I’ll proceed.  I’ll stop making accusations, seek
God’s graciousness, and continue in friendship and love.  

Besides, at the end of the day, the friendship that matters most is the one we have with the Lord.

God bless you.