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The Courage to Forgive a Friend

Bottom line: it doesn’t matter who was at fault or who said what—it only matters what God’s Word says, and it says to forgive.

Forgive your friends.

A friend loves at all times… (Proverbs 17:17, ESV)

I had just finished writing the last few heartfelt lines on the cute friendship card I’d purchased earlier that day, and as I was addressing the envelope, I heard that still small Voice speak to me.

Don’t send it.

I tried to ignore His Voice, but then as I headed to the Post Office to mail the card to a person who had been my best friend for many years but not since our falling out the year before, I heard Him again.

Don’t send it. She’s not ready. I’m working on it.

Though I wanted to mail the card and hope for the best, I knew my previous attempts to make things right with my friend had not turned out well. In fact, they’d been met with rejection, reopening the wounds in my heart that I thought were already healed.

READ MORE: DESTINED TO BE FRIENDS

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So, I sat in the parking lot of the local post office and cried for a bit, ripping the card into several pieces so I wouldn’t be tempted to mail it later.

It was time to let God work. It was time for me to stop trying to “work it” on my own and truly give God all of my hurts, regrets, and hopeful expectations where she was concerned. You see, she was the one friend I felt I would grow old with; the one who was a sister to me; the one who supported me no matter what; and the one I’d missed every single day since we’d gone our separate ways.

I’d long forgiven her and hoped we could move past the fight that had separated our families, but that hasn’t yet happened. So, I continue to trust God. But, here’s what I’ve learned through this ordeal.

Just because you’ve forgiven someone doesn’t mean that person has or will ever forgive you, and that shouldn’t matter. You are only responsible for your heart, and by forgiving that person, you’ve chosen to live. There’s an old expression that says holding onto unforgiveness is like taking poison and wanting the other person to die. It doesn’t affect that person, but it will destroy you.

Bottom line: it doesn’t matter who was at fault or who said what—it only matters what God’s Word says, and it says to forgive. His Word says to believe the best in others. And, His Word says that a friend loves at all times.

All means all.

So if you’re on either side of this situation—hoping to be forgiven or needing to offer forgiveness—I hope you’ll push past the pain and enter into God’s overwhelming love and grace. Let Him heal your broken heart.

Don’t dwell on the “would’ves, could’ves or should’ves” but rather meditate on the goodness of God. And, remember, it’s all in God’s hands and in His timing. Forgiveness may come, but even if it doesn’t, keep your heart right and choose to love. And, ask God to help you forgive yourself.

He will.

The late Maya Angelou said it best: “You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’”

It’s time to forgive and choose to live.

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