March 10, 2015

Friends Forgive

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 10, 2015

Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends. Proverbs 17:9, TLB

Friendships are seasonal. They come and go. The friendships that seem to stick are the ones full of grace and forgiveness. Over the years I have experienced occasional friendships seemingly tentative from the beginning. Like a delicate strand of a spider web the relationship hung in the balance waiting for the slightest offense to severe the relationship. Gratefully, the majority of my friends defaulted to forgiveness when I let them down. It was nearly impossible to get off their good list, because grace was their first line of defense. Love forgets mistakes and focuses on loving the friend.

Moreover, grace and forgiveness are able to start over with a clean slate. Forgiveness, like smelly trash filled cans—dumps out our dumb mistakes. Because forgiveness empties itself of emotional garbage, its capacity to extend grace is not hindered. Conditional love puts a lid on our emotions and eventually blows its top in anger. Forgiveness does not relive past hurts during heated discussions. It forgets. Grace covers sin’s offense and chooses amnesia to the pain of the past. Indeed forgiveness brings friends back together stronger than before their relational test.

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12).

How has a friend let you down? Perhaps they did not keep their word. Or maybe they appear unconcerned for you and you seem to be the one who always reaches out to them. Maybe you are mad since your friend seems to have time for new friends, but takes for granted old friends like you. Regardless of the relational rupture—you can still be a friend: pray, forgive, and love. Your friend may need space to sort out their own issues, so honor them with a break. Friends who forgive do not dangle expectations over friendships. Forgiveness does not nag—it supports.

Lastly, do you suffer from a friendship that is unforgiving toward you? A relational wedge keeps you from intimacy. Like slushy snow on a warm day, the joy you once had has melted into mud. Only the Lord can move the heart of someone who will not budge on their grudge. Trust Jesus—who wants to be their best friend—to draw them into a deeper friendship with Him. As we all grow in our friendship with Jesus—His lavish love and forgiveness infects His closest friends with hearts of grace. Friends freshly forgiven by Jesus—freshly forgive in Jesus’s name!

“It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace and mercy to forgive my friends and to gladly accept their forgiveness.

Related Readings: 1 Samuel 18:1, 19:1-3; Proverbs 14:17, 16:28; 1 Peter 4:8

Post/Tweet this today: Forgiveness brings friends back together stronger than before their relational test. #friendsforgive #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 3 minute music video- Guy Penrod: What a Friend We Have in Jesus

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  1. Phyllis Gary says:

    I had a friend that will not forgive me for something that had happened around Christmas time over two years ago.To me it wasn’t anything to get upset over to stay mad all this time. I see her in church and a member of the camping group I belong to. I have prayed, I have tried to speak to her, I have tried to be friendly to her, even asked our Pastor to meet with us, but she will not forgive and forget. It hurts my heart. What more can I do to restore the friendship we once had if she is not willing to do the same?

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Phyliss~
      I am sorry about your friend and the challenges you are having restoring the friendship. I hope you found some comfort in the devotional, “Friends Forgive”. I can “hear” the hurt and saddness in your words. It certainly sounds like you have done everything you could to restore the relationship. I am thankful you have prayed about it and given to our Heavenly Father.
      As I read “Friends Forgive” again, I thought of you when I read these two sentences:
      “Only the Lord can move the heart of someone who will not budge on their grudge.” It is true, Phyllis. Perhaps HE is working on her heart as we speak and it will happen in His Perfect Timing!
      Also, the sentence : “As we grow in our friendship with Jesus, His lavish love and forgiveness infects His closest friends with hearts of grace.” Hold on to that truth, Phyllis.

      I know this must be hard, but it sounds like you have done all you can. Turn it over to the One who loves both you and your friend more than we can imagine.
      We are so thankful for you and look forward to hearing from you again.
      Believing and trusting~

      “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

      “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
      Ephesians 4:32

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