"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16 NIV
Buried in these very words is a hidden treasure: a pattern for us to follow when we are trying to mend a broken relationship. When man's relationship with God was damaged, He made the first move. As His children, He calls us to do the same and follow His example in applying this principle.
For God so loved the world...
Love--the strongest force in the world. The first thing we are called to do is choose to love our friend. In practical terms, this means the following:
Choose to be patient with his/her faults instead of being impatient and quick tempered.
Choose to be kind with our words and actions instead of being mean.
Choose to humbly extend grace to our friend, remembering that we also have shortcomings.
Choose to speak highly of our friend to others even when we want to put them down.
Choose to forgive when we want to hold what they did against them.
That He gave His one and only Son...
God's love for us was so tangible that it compelled him to action, which involved giving up that which was most valuable to Him, for a chance to have us back. Restoring a broken friendship, God's way, involves giving up something we consider very valuable. It could be our time, our possessions and money. It could be an item we own that we highly treasure. It could even mean delaying a dream for reaching out in love to our friend. The bottomline is that action in the form of sacrifice must be involved. In Jesus' own words: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend. (John 15:13, NIV)
That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life...
With all God's sacrifice, He leaves the response to us. The most painful part about this principle is that the outcome is not guaranteed. I cannot promise that the friendship will be restored or our relationship will be anything like it used to be. If we win back our friend, that would just be amazing!
We can reach out with love to restore a broken friendship, but we do not control the choice of our friend. Probably, the most beautiful part from this experience is that we learn to become more like our Heavenly Father-- and that is worth all our love and sacrifice.
Is there a broken friendship you want to restore?
By Kerry-Ann McPherson
Project Manager & Contributor