(Photo by Selma Komisky)
The Beauty of Grace in Friendships
By Brittney Perez
Out of the many things that make this life special, one of those things is friendship. Friendships are an important aspect of life and are part of what makes this life enjoyable. It’s a blessing to have those people in your life that you connect with and trust. In a world where there is so much pain and confusion, it’s comforting having friends you can reach out to who remind you of God’s goodness.
Even in friendship, people fall short. We as people are flawed with many layers. Even the best of friendships go through rough patches. That’s why having and showing grace toward one another is so important. To give grace to others we need to first understand what grace is.
Grace can be described as receiving from God what we don’t naturally deserve. Since we are a sinful people (born into sin) we naturally deserved God’s wrath because He Himself is Holy and sinless; His holiness and our sinfulness cannot join together. It’s like mixing oil with water; they don’t mix. If it wasn’t for God’s grace toward us – God sending His sinless Son Jesus to willingly die in our place for our sins – we wouldn’t be able to approach God let alone enter His kingdom. Because Jesus was sinless and became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); taking what we deserved (death because of sin) and dying on a cross and resurrecting from the dead, God sees us through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus – pure and blameless as if we had never sinned. When you believe in Jesus and place your faith in Him (even though you still sin here on this earth) God sees you in this way. That is grace.
It’s often said that the only people that can truly hurt us are the people we are closest to because those are the people who have the true ability to hurt us. When we’ve been hurt by friends and people we trust, it hurts. We can be left feeling betrayed and broken and through these feelings, anger, and bitterness can begin to take root. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve found myself hurt by the people that I’m closest with I have found that oftentimes I can’t get that feeling of being hurt by them out of my head. As much as I try to forgive and forget, it’s the “forgetting” part or the lack thereof, that seems to linger. There’s always this part of me that wants to hold onto the pain. I know deep down I want reconciliation, but I’ll sometimes wait for the other person to apologize and find myself even more upset and hurt when they don’t appear to be seeking that reconciliation as well. After I’ve contemplated the whole situation in my mind to the point of exhaustion, I often come to this one conclusion: showing grace and seeking reconciliation even if that means making the first move to forgive or confront the other person to achieve reconciliation. It’s not always easy, but it’s always a better choice than having hidden bitterness.
People need to be shown grace just as much as we do. I know all these thoughts come to our minds; thoughts like, “they don’t deserve my forgiveness”, etc. but that’s the beauty of grace. Remember, grace is receiving what we don’t deserve. Of course, this can take time to process and achieve, but if we are seeking Jesus, we should be seeking reconciliation and live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). May we not let bitterness take root as it says in Hebrews 12:15, but rather, show one another grace because we have received grace ourselves in place of grace already given (John 1:16).