Hi everyone, I hope you’re all fine by God’s grace. Today we’re going to answer a question that usually troubles a good number of us.
We have friends, we love them but at times they hurt us more than we could ever imagine, and we don’t know how to react to that.
I heard someone say this someday “If you piss me off, I kick you out of my life! “. I guess that’s kind of harsh, but I think it’s an ultimate decision taken from a heart which has been disappointed so much by friends and loved ones that the only conclusion they took was to never give second chances any longer.
Actually, it’s not surprising to lose all faith in friendship when upon several attempts to present our hurt feelings to our “friends” all we get are mockeries, and unnecessary comments on how “demanding”, “perfectionist “and” sensitive-for-nothing ” we are.
However, may be sometimes we didn’t really have the good approach towards them, to tell them that they hurt us or they sinned against us, and today we’ll look at the approach recommended by The Bible.
Matthew 18:15-17 KJV
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
Little reading comprehension:
- What should we do when our brother/sister/friend sins against us?-Tell them their fault.
- Should you publish (tell everyone) your friend’s faults before/without even telling them?-No, tell him/her just between both of you.
- Should you involve more people when your friend still doesn’t listen to you? – Yes, but not the whole world (nor all your Facebook followers by the way), just involve two to three people. I guess they should be close friends to both of you, or parents because they know both of you better than strangers, and they may be able to help you solve the issue, with love and forgiveness.
- At which moment should you tell it to the church/to your Christian community? – When you’ve already spoken to your friend individually and in the presence of two to three witnesses and your friend still neglects to hear you.
- What if your friend neglects to hear the church? – Treat him as a heathen man and a publican(or as a pagan or a tax collector).
Matthew 18:17 NIV
If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
I usually thought that verse 17 meant I had to “kick out of my life” friends whom I tried to speak to in order to settle our issues, but who never cared and never listened. I was wrong. I listened to a sermon recently by Pastor Rick Warren, the author of “The Purpose Driven life” and the whole issue became clearer to me.
- Who was a tax collector in The Bible? – Matthew
- How did Jesus Christ treat Matthew the tax collector? – He had dinner with him, made him a disciple, gave him the opportunity to develop a deep loving relationship with The Son of God.
Matthew 9:9-10 NIV
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.
Tax collectors weren’t really loved by the general population of the Israelites, they were possibly hated and considered as sinners and enemies. However, Jesus didn’t isolate them, rather, He loved them. So if Jesus asks you to treat them like tax collectors, He’s shown you how to treat tax collectors; with love.
The issue may be so huge that your friend of yesterday now becomes your enemy of today, but how does Jesus Christ tell us to treat our enemies?
Matthew 5:44-45 NIV
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Let’s conclude that, your friends may hurt you or sin against you and when that happens, you should tell them (not keep it in your heart). It’s no use publishing it and telling everyone, two to three people are enough to speak to them in private. When it still doesn’t work, you can involve the church, but even if your friend doesn’t amend himself/herself and that you aren’t friends any longer but enemies, treat them just as Jesus Christ asks us to treat our enemies; love them and pray for them.
The only pride you should ever have in having enemies is that you’re actively praying for them.
Remember, God can touch their hearts.
Lord God Almighty, thank You for this lesson on friendship. Help me apply what I learned from this, and love my friends and pray for them even when the friendship is over, in Jesus Christ’s Name I pray. Amen.
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Thanks for reading.