Friday, March 23, 2018

"Can Broken Relationships be Fixed?"

Luke 16.10, 26 NASU

“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”

“And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.”

How does “a very little thing” become “a great chasm?” It happens all the time in relationships. It can be subtle… the way someone turns their head or moves their eyes, a particular choice of words or a tone of voice in conversation, the nuances of meaning we attach to the behavior of others, what we hear in passing about the friends we keep, the way we feel but cannot describe after a personal interaction, expectations left unstated and unmet, etc. This is the small stuff that undermines and destroys relationships. It seems like such “a very little thing,” and it is... but it’s not.

Sometimes the message hidden behind a thin veneer of a smile is not so subtle. “I don’t like you” or “I want your money” or “I am better than you” can be quickly felt and easily discerned. Those relationships end before they start. In other cases, it takes a while to become clear about what’s going on. In almost every case, we look back and admit, “I should have known” or “I saw the warning signs and did not want to believe them” or “I wish I had listened to my gut (or my heart, or my friends, or my wife).” It’s the little things we missed (or chose to miss) because we were blinded by the apparent good parts of the relationship.

Unexpected betrayal at the hands of a brother, friend, or lover is an old biblical theme...

“This isn't the neighborhood bully mocking me —
I could take that. This isn't a foreign devil spitting invective —
I could tune that out. It's you! We grew up together! You! My best friend!
Those long hours of leisure as we walked arm in arm,
God a third party to our conversation.”
Psalm 55.12-14 The Message

“Even my best friend, the one I always told everything — he ate
meals at my house all the time! — has bitten my hand.”
Psalm 41.9 The Message

Cain and Abel, Samson and Delilah, Job and his comforters, David and Absalom, Jesus and Judas. Once a relationship is broken, there’s usually no going back. The split is most often permanent. It hardens like a handprint set in soft concrete. “A great chasm [of separation is] fixed” for all time. It’s not impossible to fix a friendship gone bad, but it’s very, very hard. It’s nearly impossible and almost never worth attempting.

“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.
Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.”
Proverbs 18.19 NLT

Sometimes death separates. Death is permanent. I will never see my precious wife again on this earth. I long deeply for Adonica, but she will never return. My past life with her is gone forever. Death of friendships can also be permanent. What starts out as “a very little thing” becomes “a great chasm” of hurt that can never be healed.  You just have to say good-bye. Learn what you can, work hard to forgive, try to forget, trust Jesus, walk away, and let it go.

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