But this is a two-fold announcement: God doesn’t tell you to trust them. That’s right! I said it. God does not tell you to trust your friends. If you can find a verse in God’s Word that suggests that you should trust a fellow human on this planet, let me know. I guarantee that you will not find one. In fact, we are commanded NOT to trust in mortal man. (Psalm 146:3; Micah 7:5-7) God’s Word says that we are foolish to even trust our OWN hearts. (Proverbs 28:26)
So if God doesn’t command you to trust your friends, what does He tell you to do?
He tells you to love them. He tells you to trust him.
Whoa. Feel that power? He tells you to love people, and to trust him. He tells you to love him too, but do you understand that He is the only one you can fully trust? That’s heavy. I saw an anonymous quote online that said, "God never commanded you to trust people. God commanded you to love people and trust Him. Know the difference. Your joy and victory depend on it." Ohhh let's abide in that truth, friend.
We talk about trust in every area. Can you trust your boyfriend? Your husband? Your friends?
You know what? No. You can’t trust your boyfriend. You can’t trust your husband or your family or your friends. Not fully, at least. Do you know who you can trust?
Ding ding ding! That’s right, folks. Only one. Only the Lord.
You see, your sweet, loving boyfriend/husband is still flawed. He still makes mistakes. And though he may be perfectly faithful to you for the rest of your life, I am SURE he will still hurt you in other ways. And do you know what else? You’ll hurt him too. It’s our nature, friend. Flawed human beings.
You don’t always behave like a friend either, I’d wager. Whether you’ve done it on purpose or you are completely oblivious to it, I know you’ve hurt your friends. Oh friend, if only I could recount the times that I’ve caused pain in a dear friend’s life. There have been times that I did it out of anger and frustration, and there have been times that I hurt them out of my own hurt…but more often than not, I hurt them out of oblivion. I wasn’t paying attention and someone got hurt. I excluded someone. I said something thoughtless. I didn’t do it on purpose, but it was done nonetheless. Proverbs 27:6a says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” When we let someone past the gates that guard our hearts, when we lower our shield and let someone in, that person gets close to our weakest areas. We give them access to our most vulnerable places…and that is GOOD. We need friends. We need people who are close with us for so many reasons. But it can also be painful.
In one of the Narnia books there’s a quote about Aslan that says, “He isn’t safe…but he is good.”
That’s how I feel about the Lord. It’s also how I feel about my closest relationships. No, they aren’t safe. Human beings are flawed and bound to hurt one another…especially if they are hurting. But relationships are good. They make us grow. They help us learn. They enrich our lives and hold us accountable. So, no, we can’t trust our friends fully…maybe we know that they wouldn’t intentionally hurt us, but even unintentional pain is pain. We can love them, though. We can stand by them and seek to understand before we seek to judge or become angry. We can give them back to the Lord over and over again and tell him our painful stories. We can trust the Lord to rule over it all and to guard our hurting hearts. We can know that while our friends aren’t safe, aren’t good on their own, our God is good and he is intentional. And he sees value in relationship.
So…a few things to remember when you’ve been hurt or are in conflict:
1. Another person’s opinion of you doesn’t change anything about who you really are. Just because they think it, that doesn’t make it true.
2. There are multiple sides to every story.
3. Listen. Seek to understand. Find their pattern of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
4. Pray for them. I’m serious. Get on your knees, friend. Trust the Lord to handle the pain and the conflict.
5. Be healthy in relationships. Don’t obsess. Don’t gossip to your other friends.
6. Listen to what they need. If they ask for space, give them space.
7. Listen to what YOU need. If you need space, REQUEST space…but communicate what you need to your friend so that they aren’t in the dark.
Do you have any ideas for other things one could do when in the midst of conflict and pain with friends? Comment below!