Tonight, I leave you with another one from the “Dear Son” series by Pastor Daniel Addo. Many of us have lost friends as we’ve aged. This one helps us deal with it and get through it. I hope it helps you like it has me.
I trust that you are doing well in school! Your mum and I talk often about how much we miss you. This has been a particularly difficult time in our lives. The other day, I caught your mum reading an online article titled, “How to handle the loneliness of an empty nest”. You should write her sometime; she really misses you.
Son, as with many of my other letters, I am writing to talk to you about life. Now that you are in College, and not under my direct supervision, my letters will be my primary way of communicating my heart to you. You know how much I love to let you in on the wisdom of the aged. I enjoy pouring all that I have learnt into you.
Son, I want to talk to you about friends, particularly about losing friends. I know that in your short life, you’ve already experienced it. You meet someone, and you immediately hit it off. Things are great, and you share a bond so strong. You imagine that this person will be in your life for a long time, and that you will always share this bond of friendship. However, after a while, things change. The person you once called friend, becomes more like a stranger. All you have is memories of the past, of sweetness experienced and laughter shared. It can be painful!
As one who has experienced this, I know that it is not a comfortable place to be. Sometimes, you’re the reason for the fallout. At other times, you simply have to let a person go for the benefit of your/their future. Yet at other times, life happens and people get busy, or move away. However, the point is losing a friend can be a heart wrenching experience!
Here’s my counsel for you:
When you are at fault, apologize! Do all you can to make sure that you have made peace with the person you hurt. Son, real men are not afraid to say sorry. I know that sometimes it’s difficult to let go of your manly pride, but remember that pride eats up your life. Don’t lose friends because you were too proud to apologize. Don’t be one who wounds others without being sensitive enough to bind those wounds. Godly men are humble enough to recognize their faults and apologize for them.
Similarly, I want you to realize that there will be times when though you are not at fault, you will still have to apologize. Talk about a test of humility! Sometimes the other person will not see their fault, no matter how hard you try to point it out. While you can’t control how others behave, you do have control over your responses. Follow peace my son, at all cost.
If after you have apologized, and tried to mend the friendship, the other person still needs space, give them some space. Sometimes the best gift we can give others is space to heal. I know that sometimes, space given is at the risk of losing the friendship. But this is a risk you must be willing to take. If a person wants to leave, you must be willing to let them go, however difficult it may be. We have not been called to cling too tightly to anyone. Any person or thing that we are clinging too tightly to is an idol. The only person you can’t live without is God!
Son, one of the greatest lessons I have learnt is that not every friendship was meant to last a lifetime. There is such a thing as seasonal friendships. God brings certain people into our lives for a season. We miss it when we think seasonal friends were meant to be lifetime friends. This is why we get hurt. Some relationships are scaffold relationships. They were never meant to progress – they were simply there for a particular time and season. Learn to discern when it’s time to let it go!
When people hurt you, forgive! As a matter of fact, forgive before they hurt you. Like I often say during family devotions, “forgiveness is to be fore-given.” You must realize that people will hurt you. We are all broken! The best gift you can give people is a forgiveness that is prior to offense. I like to call it a premeditated forgiveness! Hatred is not in our language. We are people of grace and love. We forgive those who hurt us, because we have received an undeserved forgiveness in Christ.
Son, don’t be afraid to let people know when they hurt you. I can’t tell you how many friends I would still have now, if I just addressed issues early enough. Sometimes we repress and repress, until one day we explode. If the friendship is genuine, it should be able to handle the truth. Don’t shy away from expressing your feelings.
Finally Son, no matter what happens in life, don’t ever write anyone off. Don’t give up on anyone. Don’t freeze anyone at the point of your last interaction. People change, people grow. Just because you knew someone, doesn’t mean that you know him or her. Change happens everyday! Remember the story of the Apostle Paul who at one time rejected John Mark, but later said, “he is profitable to me”. The people who have hurt you the most, can be profitable to you in the future.
One last thing before I drop my pen! Don’t let hurt from the past stop you from making new friends. Don’t allow the people in your present suffer for the mistakes of those in your past. There’s so much more out there for you my son. Forget the past and open your heart to the wonderful opportunities before you!
I Love you son, unconditionally!