Hurt by Close Friends — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Hurt by Close Friends — Morning Devotions

It can be so difficult when the people closest to you, hurt you. Where do you go from there and how do you trust again?

By Chris WittsFriday 10 Feb 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Because we live in the real world, there will come a day when you’ll be hurt—I hope not physically, but your feelings will be hurt.

It happens often in a family or at school when we rub shoulders with people all the time. If it hasn’t happened to you, congratulations! I think you are a very fortunate person. Chances are, you’ve had your feelings hurt, possibly by a close friend or relative, or work colleague. Your friend may have promised to meet you for lunch, but backed out at the last moment. There’s something going on—a simple phone call would have been enough. You feel hurt and angry, because a rift has started, and your friendship is coming under strain. You start to imagine all sort of reasons—they may be correct, or your own imagination.

Sometimes we have to let go of our resentment, anger and sadness because of hurt feelings. And I’m talking about men and women. We have different ways in dealing with this. Conflict is always a messy business, and angry outbursts happen every day.

Most friends don’t set out to hurt us. When we are hurt by a friend, the pain is usually accidental and the person who caused it feels sorry—even if they cannot bring themselves to apologise. We can be too proud to say, I’m sorry about yesterday. I was tired and not thinking right.

The Price We May Need to Pay

But even our easiest and richest friendships can be laced with tensions and conflicts—as are most human relationships. They can lose a bit of their magic and fail to regain it, or even fade out altogether for tragic reasons, or no reason at all. The pleasures and benefits of good friends are abundant, but they come with a price.

Friendship, looked at through a clear and wide lens, is far messier and more lopsided than it is often portrayed. But that’s for another talk. I want to keep thinking, what do I do when a close friend hurts me?

Probably the worst experience we can have with friends is betrayal. Betrayal is an awful experience—a violation of trust by someone close to you. A husband betrayed by his wife—or vice versa. An employee passed over for a promotion by an employer who had promised it. A secret between friends brought to light for all to see. A promise made to a child so easily broken by a parent. How do we deal with that inevitable betrayal that will affect us in our everyday lives?

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Jan Yager wrote a book in 2002, When Friendship Hurts. She did surveys of 180 people who responded to the question, Has a casual, close, or best friend ever betrayed you? Many—116 (68%)— answered Yes and only 55 (32%) replied No. Quite a high percentage.

Betrayal can be defined as when a friend lets you down and is not there for you emotionally, or even literally: when a friend ends your friendship but you still want it to continue—and you sometimes may never find out why it ended. And of course in today’s digital world, friendships can be ruined with quick and angry emails or messages on social media.

The Betrayal of Jesus

Do you know that Jesus was badly hurt by his close friends? We read all about it in the New Testament in Matthew 26, and especially in the person of Judas who betrayed Jesus big time: Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders. The mental anguish caused by the betrayal of Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples and closest friends, is an often overlooked aspect of Jesus’ suffering.

He had invested in Judas. He loved Judas who was one of the 12 trusted apostles and had travelled with him for three years. Jesus cared intensely for Judas. But in one mad moment, Judas betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver. It must have been heart-breaking. Read of this time: Jesus instructed Judas to do what he’d set his mind to. He didn’t stop him or throw a tantrum. We also know that Jesus responded to Judas graciously.

Jesus could never be accused of being a pushover, but he framed his response to Judas’ betrayal with kindness and graciousness. It was too much for Judas who went outside and committed suicide. Apparently he could not live with his actions which led to the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Maybe you are suffering through a betrayal—betrayal in a relationship. You may be deeply hurt, and you don’t know what you’re going to do tomorrow. You don’t know if you can even trust the rest of this day. Betrayal is such an insidious thing because it tears away that one fragile thing that keeps us with other people—and that is trust.

And it shatters it, and it leaves us not knowing what we’re going to do, but through the example of Jesus, even betrayal has another side. Even betrayal has a tomorrow. With God’s help, you can find strength to keep going.