Summary: What should we do when relationships go wrong?
Even despite our best efforts there are times when relationships can go wrong. Jesus had poured out His heart to His friends. Certainly, He tried to do everything right with respect to His relationship with them. Yet, even Jesus experienced the sorrow associated with relationships going wrong. What did our Lord do when His relationships with His friends went sour? The same things we need to do when relationships go wrong for us. When relationships go wrong, we need to . . .
1. Face The Hurt - v. 38
Before a physician can facilitate healing in our body, we must first acknowledge our need to be made well. Before the Lord can be free to work in our lives to heal our hearts or to heal a relationship, we must first acknowledge our need. for that to happen. We must face the hurt. Jesus did not deny or minimize His pain (v. 38). We must not either.
Many live in denial about hurt from past or present relationships that have gone wrong. Many are hindered in present relationships, because they have never faced the hurts from past relationships. Because of unresolved pain from the past, they find in their present relationships that they have difficulty being themselves, they have difficulty trusting others, or they simply live life alone and lonely, because they are afraid to risk being hurt again!
Some examples of relational hurts that people carry, according to Dr. David Ferguson of the Center For Marriage and Family Intimacy are: A. Physical abuse; B. Sexual abuse; C. Emotional or verbal abuse; D. Feelings of rejection caused by such things as parental divorce/death/adoption; E. Parental domination or withdrawal; F. Marital discord and/or divorce; G. Rejection/ridicule of peers, friends or loved ones.
Before we can apply the principles we are considering today from the example of Jesus, we must first seek to apply them to those hurts from the past. But whether our hurt is from a relationship in the past, or from a relationship in the present that has gone wrong, if we are going to experience the healing to our hearts, and hopefully, to our relationships, we must first face the hurt. In facing our hurt, we must seek to . . .
2. Face The Truth - vs. 39-41
A. Be Honest With Your Father - v. 39
Jesus was absolutely honest with the Father about His feelings, while being willing to submit to whatever the Father had in mind for Him. Likewise, whenever we are in a situation where a relationship has gone wrong, we need to honestly pour out our feelings to the Father and seek to submit to whatever he has in mind for us in that situation.
While it is true of every day we live, it is especially true in those days in which we are dealing with hurt resulting from a relationship gone wrong, that we need the Lord to reveal to us what has gone wrong and what we are to do about it. In a spirit of honesty and humility, we need to pray the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24. When we do this, God will give light to our situation, and as we walk in that light, we can see healing come to our hearts, and possibly, to the relationship that has gone wrong as well. But we must be willing to walk in the light God gives.
A pastor preached a series of sermons on guidance, and in the last message he encouraged folks by saying, “Follow the principles I have laid before you,” he said, “and let me know what happens.”
Weeks later, he noticed that one woman who had attended during the series on guidance was no coming - so he decided to contact her. He asked why she hadn’t been to church in a while. She said was disappointed when applying the principles he had taught on guidance. “What happened?” he asked. “Did you not receive any guidance?” “Oh, I did,” she replied, “It came to me that I ought to write to my sister-in–law, who I haven’t spoken with in several years.” “Well, what’s the problem?” he asked. She replied, “You don’t understand, the problem is, I don’t want to do that.”
Let’s be careful not to let E.G.O. keep us from experiencing healing in our heart and possibly, our relationship (E.G.O. = Edging God Out).
B. Be Honest About Your Failures - v. 40
When we ask God to shed His light on our situation, He will reveal where our failure in the matter lies and where the failure of the other person or persons is as well. Jesus, being perfect and sinless, had no fault at all on this occasion, but such was not true of the disciples. The failure here, was all theirs.