Breakups, of any kind, hurt. And they hurt so bad.  

When a relationship falls apart, it can make you feel like a helpless, drowning kid, desperately trying to breathe in air to live.

A broken relationship triggers feelings of abandonment, hopelessness, and pain. The experience can be so intense and traumatic that, according to research, it actually feels the same as physical pain.

It’s painful and hard to understand why you have a quarrelsome family while others’ families are seemingly happy. It’s difficult to comprehend why your parent, your childhood hero, walked away and shattered your heart into pieces, along with your hopes and dreams. It’s hard to understand why someone so dear would dump you or why a trusted friend would betray you. On the other hand, if you’re the one who has committed the offense, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you might be suffering from guilt and shame.

Relationships are complicated because humans are complicated. We are sick unto death with sin and alienated from God and from each other.

But there is hope for our unreconciled relationships. Here are a few things that can help HEAL broken relationships.

HUMBLE YOURSELF before the Lord, then before others

Before the Lord

In 1 Peter 5:6,7, the Apostle Peter calls for us, Christians, to humble ourselves not under the hand of any created being, but of God who created all beings. This is not only the appropriate response to His greatness but also a declaration that our mighty God can be trusted to vindicate our cause and lift us up when the proper time comes.

Hence, one of the greatest things we can do to restore a broken relationship is to humble ourselves before our ever-caring Lord, casting all our anxieties on Him and asking Him to help us walk in humility before others. When we present ourselves broken and contrite before the Lord, He will not despise us (Psalm 51:17). Rather, in His lovingkindness, He enables us by His grace to come out of our shell and engage in the daunting task of reconciling with someone who has greatly hurt us or whom we have hurt.

Before Others

Literally, humility means “lowliness.” Humility is not self-absorbed, but self-giving. It counts others more significant than oneself (Philippians 2:3,4). That doesn’t mean being a doormat or being tolerant with abusive behavior. No, it means looking to the needs of others and exerting intentional effort to meet those needs—making every effort to listen, understand, serve, and be reconciled.

EMPATHIZE, Feel Deeply for Others

As Christians, we are also called to have empathy for one another for we are to be imitators and reflectors of our compassionate God. The Apostle Paul encourages us to “be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Even Jesus allowed Himself to feel deeply, which is why He understands you and can identify with you perfectly. But He doesn’t just sympathize with you in your pain; He has destroyed the terrible pangs of it. Thus, you don’t need to fear your ability to feel. You are free to feel the “feels” without being mastered by them.

Expressing compassion and concern by staying engaged, not projecting our frustrations, and not jumping to the endpoint of the conversation can open the door for reconciliation. If we truly empathize with people, it will produce proactive love, not passiveness and apathy.

ACT, Ask for and Grant Forgiveness

When the cut is too deep, forgiveness may seem impossible, but it is not. Jesus forgave our sins once for all by canceling the record of debt that stood against us through His life, death, and resurrection (Colossians 2:13,14).

This means that our willingness to forgive others when they’ve wronged us is grounded on God’s forgiveness for us. This gospel-grounded forgiveness chooses to keep no records of offense and wrongs, just as the Lord does.

And it goes much further by acknowledging that we may be wronged again, but we are willing to forgive each time. Our security rests on the reality that God will be with us and will be for us an ever-abiding comfort and Physician for any future pain.

LOVE, Strive to Love People as You Love Yourself

The degree of God’s love is shown through His Son’s great sacrifice to rescue us from our sins though we were utterly unworthy. While we were still broken, sinful, and undeserving, He loved us. And we display our love for Him through our radical, self-giving love for others.

Jesus commands us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). It doesn’t mean to “do what you can for others,” but to “do for others what you would do for yourself.” That is, with the same level of patience, passion, commitment, mindfulness, extravagance, and effort you exert in loving yourself, do so for others.

May our love be true and rooted in the Truth; may it not be based on what we receive from people, but on the steadfast, outrageous love our Savior generously provides.

Hope from the Gospel

In a fallen world full of hearts that break, homes that ache, and relationships at stake, know that Jesus will never forsake.

There was no other way for us to be brought near to God and be made alive and whole but through Jesus’ suffering and finished work on the cross. He suffered so we can be reconciled to God—and more.

And what He has done is the foundation for what He will do in the future—a restoration of all things forever.

Until then, let us make every effort to appeal to the world in love for reconciliation, for we are ambassadors of Christ, the King of the greatest kingdom.

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