When We’re Aching Over a Hurt We’ve Caused a Friend

I blew it. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t want to, but I did.

 

Something I did wounded a dear friend, and my heart hurts to know that I caused another pain.

 

I can’t go back, can’t hit rewind, though I wish I could, especially today. I can’t erase.

 

My heart recoils in discomfort and regret. My mind begins to churn the intractable tape of unkindness, criticism, and self-condemnation.

 

I believe we have all experienced times in our lives where we’ve blown it and hurt someone. Our humanity inevitably brushes up against another and bruises the beautiful fibers of their soul.

 

This is not an easy discussion. It makes the strongest among us uncomfortable.   We’d rather look away. Talk about easier things. Perhaps.

 

Maybe there is something to be learned from our mistakes. Maybe there is another layer of healing and growth for us on this journey.

 

What do we do when we blow it? Where can we find healing when we have hurt someone? I believe there are three important steps to take when we realize we have blown it that can lead us to greater clarity, wisdom, and peace in our lives and our relationships.

 

We must own it.

 

Really own it. Not half way, not almost all the way. We must own the totality of words or actions that caused someone harm or pain. We must own responsibility whether our friend makes it easy for us or not.

 

There are no excuses, no “yes, but’s,” no rationalizations. Anything that allows us to minimize or walk around the issue at hand will prevent any possibility of healing or reconciliation. More than that, avoidance or defensiveness keeps us from coming face to face with ourselves, acknowledging the essence of our broken condition, and owning responsibility for the consequences of our words or actions.

 

Owning responsibility is the first step toward healing, toward freedom, toward peace. We no longer have to bear the weight of feigned perfection, we can breathe into the goodness and mercy of a faithful Father who knows us, delights in us, and loves us just the same.

 

[bctt tweet=”I John 1:9 tells us, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us our sins and forgive us for our unrighteousness.”]

 

Matthew 5:23-24 tells us, Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

 

We must repent.

 

According to the Google Dictionary, the word repent is defined as, viewing or thinking of (an action or omission) with deep regret or remorse. We must repent first to God, then we must repent to whomever we have wronged, if at all possible. We must acknowledge our wrong, intentional or not, and we must ask for their forgiveness.

 

We repent whether they forgive us or not. We repent because it cleanses us spiritually and emotionally. We repent because there is no other way toward reconciliation and restoration with God or our friend. Brushing hurts under the rug or ignoring them will never bring healing. Repentance, asking for forgiveness —that brings healing.

 

[bctt tweet=”Brushing hurts under the rug or ignoring them will never bring healing. Repentance, asking for forgiveness —that brings healing.”]

 

In Psalms 38:18 David cries out to God, I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.

 

Again in Psalms 32:5 he states, I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

 

We must make it right.

 

We are at times tempted to simply apologize for something in order to remove the unpleasantness and move past an uncomfortable conversation as quickly as possible. We’ve all witnessed children who’ve learned to say “sorry” to get past the offense and stem the potential tide of parental consequence, only to repeat the same behavior almost immediately.

 

Apologizing is not the same as repenting. Apologies never flow from the heart. They do not seek to change or make amends. They are content with the momentary relief of a burden lifted. Repentance begins in the heart. Repentance always results in change. Repentance always seeks to make amends.

 

[bctt tweet=”Repentance begins in the heart. Repentance always results in change. Repentance always seeks to make amends.”]

 

When we have done something wrong, it is ours to do what we can authentically do to make our wrong right.

 

If we were dishonest, our amends might be a commitment to honesty in the future. If we were critical, condemning, or unkind, our amends might be in evaluating the condition of our heart to better understand what it is within us that needs to be healed or grown so that we can move forward in all of our relationships in a more compassionate, loving manner.

 

Psalms 34:14 encourages us to, Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

 

All relationships have moments where hurts or offenses surface. What makes a healthy relationship is not the absence of conflict, it is in how well we walk through conflict that will lead to greater safety, openness, and intimacy in our relationships.

 

Have you ever blown it? Have you said or done something to a spouse, a child, a friend, or co-worker that you regretted, that you wished you could take back?

 

You don’t have to run and hide. You don’t have to ignore the situation. You don’t have to pretend that everything is all right. You can walk through conflict with courage and conviction. You can see the power of God’s healing breathe restoration and life into your relationships.

 

[bctt tweet=”You can walk through conflict with courage and conviction. You can see the power of God’s healing breathe restoration and life into your relationships.”]

 

You can own it. You can repent. You can make it right.

 

Blessings,

Lisa

photo courtesy: Buena Vista Images via Getty Images

40 Comments

  1. “We must own responsibility whether our friend makes it easy for us or not.” It almost makes it even more difficult for us when our friends offer such grace.

    • lisamurray

      October 6, 2015 at 2:36 PM

      You are so right, Christa! Some people, though, will only own responsibility if and when they can guarantee someone’s response. We should own responsibility simply because it is necessary for us as healthy individuals on our healing journey. It is about us and the consequences of our words or actions. It brings healing. Blessings to you today!

  2. More helpful encouragement for our faith walk. Lisa, you have a way of putting practical into action, melding it beautifully with faith. I’ve blown it often. Golly, I wish I had this post to help me through the situations. Love how you’ve outlined steps toward owning it, repentance, and making it right. Enjoying the visit today via #testimonyTuesday.

    • lisamurray

      October 6, 2015 at 2:38 PM

      Kristi,
      Always love having you stop by and for your kind words of encouragement. Somehow I think we all need to be reminded of what to do when we blow it. Blessings to you, friend!

  3. Wow Lisa, I have a friend who really needs this today. I’ll send her the link. Thank you.
    Blessings, Christy

    • lisamurray

      October 6, 2015 at 2:39 PM

      So glad this was helpful to you, Christy. I will be prayerful for your friend. Have a blessed day!

  4. I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. You’re absolutely right when you say we should own up to our mistakes. Not halfway, but fully own it. I appreciate your honesty. Visiting over from the #RaRaLinkUp.

    • lisamurray

      October 6, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      Samantha,
      I think we’ve all been there! Owning our mistakes is the hardest step, but a necessary step we must take if healing is what we desire! Blessings, friend!

  5. I’m a first-timer to your blog, Lisa. Thanks for these challenging and practical words. I confess it’s not easy to digest them when I think about some conflicts in the past, but it’s helpful to have these steps.

    • lisamurray

      October 7, 2015 at 3:38 PM

      Devi,
      So glad to have you stop by today! I think all of us struggle to digest some of these steps, but I find that practicing them leads to freedom and peace. Blessings to you today! Please join us anytime!

  6. Wow. Your post is excellent and casuing me to do some heart searching today. Linda

  7. Lisa, great insight in this post about repentance after we have hurt someone close to us! I hate that I do it, but sometimes I do! Praise God for grace. Stopping by from Tell His Story:)

    • lisamurray

      October 8, 2015 at 7:26 AM

      So glad to have you visit here today, Lisa! We all blow it, but thankfully God has provided an infinite measure of grace for us on our journeys. Blessings to you today!

  8. Lisa,
    So wise and true…I think owning all of it is often the hardest but most important step because it unlocks the other steps if we’re following God’s lead…praying all is reconciled between you and your friend….blessings 🙂

    • lisamurray

      October 8, 2015 at 7:28 AM

      Dolly,
      Owning responsibility is the hardest part because it requires us to step out from behind our defenses. It requires us to become vulnerable. But you are right, ultimately it unlocks all of the other steps and leads to healing, freedom, and peace! Blessings always, friend!

  9. Wow. Just wow.

    Your words hit home. I’ve lost a friend or 2 along the way. And 1 or 2 have chosen to lose me.

    It is a sadness that runs deep.

    You’ve captured it here, Lisa …

  10. Well said, Lisa! And memorable. Thank you for sharing your life experiences turned to great advice.

  11. Thanks for being a part of #livefreeThursday today. <3

    • lisamurray

      October 9, 2015 at 5:49 AM

      Suzie,
      I always feel so blessed to join the #livefree girls each week. Thank you for your leadership and generosity!

  12. I was drawn to your title on #TellHisStory linkup..glad I visited this speaks right to me this season as I look more deeply in to how I communicate–being Italian/Irish, I’ve got a way of being blunt and feisty –that may sometimes come out the wrong way! You blog offers such solid tips on helping us to cleanse our souls of the hurts we’ve caused, and such pearls of wisdom! I especially agree that apologizing is different than repenting..repenting goes much deeper, it’s turning back to God, too, for purification and forgiveness. Wonderful post!

    • lisamurray

      October 9, 2015 at 5:52 AM

      Kathy.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post! We all can make mistakes and our mistakes impact the people we love most. To know how to walk through these conflicts in a healing way is tremendously helpful toward bringing peace into our relationships. Blessings!

  13. Hi Lisa, lovely reading this. Repentance is greater than apologies. I agree with you that repentance is from the heart.
    Blessings to you

    • lisamurray

      October 9, 2015 at 5:50 AM

      Ifeoma,
      Thanks for stopping by today! Repentance is greater than apologies. All healing begins in the heart! Blessings today, friend!

  14. Walk through conflict with courage and conviction. Thank you for these words. Just lovely! #livefree #dancewithJesus

  15. Lisa,
    Saying “Sorry” simply assuages our guilt, but making amends does something for the other person and helps us to move forward…big difference. Great, solid post with good food for thought.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • lisamurray

      October 10, 2015 at 5:37 AM

      Bev,
      Thanks for stopping by today! Making amends really does help us to move forward in freedom and healing! Blessings!

  16. Simple and profound points. Spot on. I had dinner with my best friend of over 30 years this summer to celebrate our birthdays. We were talking and eating, and I suddenly realized that she’d cleaned her plate, and I blurted out, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you ate your whole meal!” (and there was a lot of food in the meal!). Immediately, I realized my mistake when I saw her crestfallen face and she just said, “Thanks, Mare.” Of course, I also immediately apologized and felt bad for the next week. But she forgave me and told me that when you blurt out things and be real with your best friend your best friend should also forgive you. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. We do indeed need to make it right. And the big thing, as you said, is not to try to defend our position. Never season it with “but.” Great post, Lisa.

    • lisamurray

      October 10, 2015 at 5:38 AM

      Mary,
      We can never season our ownership of responsibility with “but.” Sounds like you have a great best friend who is able to offer grace, mercy, and forgiveness! Blessings for your weekend!

  17. These words:”Our humanity inevitably brushes up against another and bruises the beautiful fibers of their soul.” are a stark reminder of how easily we can bruise or even batter another by our words and deeds. You offer us a wonderful, wise biblical way to deal with such offences and move toward forgiveness and healing. Thank you, Lisa. Blessed to be your neighbour at #WeekendWhispers 🙂

    • lisamurray

      October 12, 2015 at 6:01 AM

      Joy, It is so easy to bruise another and not even know it! Yet how wonderful that God gives us a way to heal and grow our relationships! Blessings to you!

  18. Yes, I said something to my best friend many, many years ago and it almost fractured our relationship. Its one of those life moments I rewind every now and then and think about. I didn’t know any better then. I was still an immature teen. Yet it is part of my and her history and a mistake I never made again!

    • lisamurray

      October 12, 2015 at 6:03 AM

      Carrie,
      At least your mistake wasn’t wasted. You learned and you grew! Our mistakes are only wasted when we hide them, ignore them, and refuse to allow them to teach us. Have a great week!

  19. Lisa, you’ve shared such wise words here, even if they are hard to hear. I’ve learned in recent years that I’m not very good at apologizing. So, this is a work-in-progress area for me. I’m learning to “own” it and apologize without exceptions. 🙂 I think this is an area where the Church needs to grow tremendously! Thanks for sharing this over at Grace and Truth last week!
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

    • lisamurray

      October 16, 2015 at 5:49 AM

      Jen,
      So glad to have you stop by today! It is so hard to “own” it, and I think we in the Church tend to hide behind our religiosity to prevent us from owning, repenting, and even healing. Blessings to you!

  20. Lisa, your article is so on point – we have all been there and we all need to hear these words. Thanks for sharing your encouraging words at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy. You are one of our Featured Guests at this week’s party – #198! 🙂

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