All relationships are prone to conflict. The longer we strive with fellow humans, the more inevitable those conflicts become. Unfortunately, a clash of personality or opinion has ended too many friendships. How do you mend a friendship once it’s broken?
In Matthew 18, Jesus outlines the process of reconciliation when two people disagree. Matthew 18:14-20 depicts the steps necessary to resolve an offense, the very first being a one-on-one conversation between the two people involved. This initial conversation is difficult, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this post.
If you desire to reconcile with a friend, read Matthew 18 and then follow the steps below.
1. Check Your Heart
Before reaching out to an offended friend, evaluate your motives. Even those of us who “hate drama” sometimes rekindle a conversation or relationship that causes more harm than good. For example: A friend who was a negative influence in your life, or someone who has made it clear she no longer wants a relationship, should be left alone. Boundaries are a good thing—and we need to respect the boundaries of others, even if it hurts to let go.
As you check your heart, repent of any bitterness. Ask God to prepare your spirit and prepare your friend’s heart for the discussion.
2. Approach With No Expectation
If you’re trying to mend a broken friendship, you have to enter the conversation with no expectation. The only thing you can control is your own response. You cannot control your friend’s actions. Approach her with no expectation and simply state your desire for reconciliation. How she responds is up to her!
3. Ask to Reconcile
If you have not previously apologized for your part in the offense (if any), this is the time to do so. This would be better in person than via text, as it is more meaningful. If you are nervous or unsure about what to say, write a letter and read it aloud. You can also send a handwritten letter if your friend does not wish to meet up.
Try to avoid rehearsing what went wrong in the friendship; your goal is not to rehash the conflict, but to reconcile! Keep the conversation pointed in this direction at all times.
4. Accept That It May Not Be the Same
At this point, your friend will either accept or reject your offer to reconcile. If she rejects it, remain calm and kind. Ask if you can pray for her. Ask her to reconsider your request over the next few days, and let her go (then read this post on breaking up with your best friend).
If she accepts your offer to reconcile, where do you go from there? Start by accepting that your friendship will probably not look the same as it did before. Trust must be rebuilt, and that takes time. Discuss what you can both do to avoid conflict in the future, what ways would be best to stay in touch and how you can best pour into one another’s lives in this season.
5. Pray for Peace
Don’t leave your meeting or phone call without praying together. It might seem awkward at first, but this closure allows God’s Spirit to unite you in peace. Only His love and patience will help you keep your friendship close through life’s conflicts! To stay connected with one another, consider sharing prayer requests during the week. The more you pray for one another, the less room there is for distrust and bitterness to grow.
Have you ever had to mend a broken friendship? Share what your experience was like in the comments below!