What we aspire to do in life and what we actually accomplish are sometimes two different things. What we attempt but fail at can cause self-condemnation and guilt; this includes building successful friendships and happy marriages. Broken relationships result in emotional pain and sorrow; leaving a trail of them behind us isn’t what God wants for us. Applying His Word in this area keeps us from having too many regrets at the end of our lives.
It’s one thing to hear or read what God says about restoring broken relationships; it’s another thing to believe it enough to put it into practice. The divorce, estrangement, and separation all around us is what the world says is the norm. To start the healing process, we need to take the first step in faith, regardless of what the world says. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). We can be confident that God wants to get involved in all of our shattered relationships and make them whole again.
Constant criticism destroys relationships, and the broken relationships we see around us contradict God’s Word. We may have witnessed a single-parent households and thought that was how all marriages ended up. Taking this mindset into our own adult relationships has a devastating effect. In order to break this cycle, we need to move forward having faith that God wants only the best for us, not what we may see presently. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
When we trust what God tells us about the kind of relationships He wants us to have; He’ll never let us down. Allowing Him to influence this area by driving out the spirit of criticism brings about change that contradicts logical reasoning; it will be something that we can’t take credit for. Despite what we may have become accustomed to, we’ll begin to see what godly friendships look like. “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9, 10, NLT).
Worldly relationships can be formed out of fear of being alone, a need to control others, a motivation to take advantage of someone else, or for any other selfish reason. However, they won’t succeed unless they’re rooted in God’s love. This type of love unselfishly puts others before ourselves; rather than a feeling, it’s a conscious decision we make. Godly friendships benefit both parties. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NLT).
Becoming friends with God first is a prerequisite for all other successful friendships. Faith in His love for us anchors us and allows us to be good friends to others. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him…We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:16, 19). A personal relationship with Him allows us to present our best selves to the world.
None of us are perfect; acknowledging this highlights the need for forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes, but those missteps don’t have to destroy our relationships. We find true joy when we learn to look past others’ mistakes and see the friends God put in our lives for what they are—gifts from Him.