When friends hurt us, it hurts worse than salt being poured into a wound. Sadly, over time, many of our friends may distance themselves from us, or we may distance ourselves from them because of hurt. Most of us have had at least one friend, if not more, who has hurt us severely.
Maybe they didn’t show up to a big event of ours, maybe they didn’t care enough to check in on us while we were struggling, or maybe they just ghosted us for no reason. When times like these occur, we need to know what to do.
Pain and Hurt
Pain and hurt are two words we don’t normally associate with friendships. The normal words we associate with friendships are kindness, support, and love. Unfortunately, even if many friendships start this way, they might not end on good terms.
When friends hurt us, it is best for us not to retaliate or try to “get even.” Instead, we need to extend the love of Christ in our words, actions, and behaviors. Simply because they hurt us doesn’t give us the right to hurt them.
Some friends might not even notice when they hurt us, which could make the hurt even worse since they never apologize or see the severity of their hurtful actions toward us.
Similar to you, I have also had many times where my friends have hurt me. Unfortunately, this has become the new normal in many of our lives. The time period after college can be difficult for most of us, but it doesn’t help when friends are mean to you and stop talking with you.
If you have read some of my former articles, you have been able to see how much I struggled and continue to struggle with recovery from anorexia. When I first started recovery, I only told my sister, but after a few months, I also told many friends from college.
I thought they were going to be supportive and encouraging, but sadly, none of them seemed to care. They seemed to think I was a freak or something was wrong with me for having such a horrible illness.
In retrospect, I now have no clue as to how my friends from college couldn’t tell I had an eating disorder in the first place. I was severely underweight, severely anxious, and severely depressed. In hindsight, I am now able to come to terms with the fact that they never really cared.
Growing up, I always wanted to have friends. My mom used to associate me with a fish because I needed to be swimming among other fish to be happy. I couldn’t agree with my mom more until these past few years.
In fact, I have now found my mom and dad’s words couldn’t be truer when they told me that it is really hard to find real friends. My mom told me that having one solid friend was lucky, and now that I am older, I can see how valuable it is to have at least one true friend.
While social media wants to give us this appearance that everyone who “friends” us on Facebook or follows us on Instagram is a friend, the sad reality is that these same people could easily “unfriend” you or unfollow you.
In order to keep up appearances, they may continue to follow you or be friends with you on Facebook even if they have no intention of ever talking with you in person. Not much can be said about social media in a positive light, in my opinion.
While it is a great tool, it doesn’t do much in the way of connecting us with others. If anything, it has disconnected us more than ever before. It has also opened up a new game of comparison that can fuel self-hate, negative body image, and negative self-image.
Don’t be fooled by the “friends” or followers from social media, and believe that the same person will be there for you when you are sitting on the floor in tears.
Real friends are there for you in the good and the bad. They don’t leave you to suffer in pain. Rather, they come by your side in your pain, and they stay with you. They don’t leave when times are hard.
True friends remain, while fair-weathered friends leave at the first sign of discomfort or a storm. We are all human beings, and we all have feelings and emotions. People are not just numbers or something we can push around.
Every single person in the world is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). If you hurt them, you are hurting God. Ultimately every sin we commit, including hurting others, goes back to hurting God.
Instead of hurting others, we need to think of the other person. Paul teaches us the importance of looking out for the other person’s interests above our own (Philippians 2:1-11).
It’s funny how many of us can go to church, read our Bible, and pray, yet we can’t do the simple task of being kind to others, being a real friend, and looking out for each other’s own interests. Sadly, even our Christian friends who are doing all these things can hurt us far worse than anyone else.
I remember being in college and thinking I had friends for life. Turns out, they were only my friends for a short time and no longer cared much for my company. Was I shy and didn’t talk much?
Yes, I was, and I still am, but that’s no reason not to talk to someone anymore. In order to get to know a lot of people, you’re going to have to earn their trust, and they will slowly begin to let you see the real them.
As much as I would like to say if you went to a new church, a Christian university, or a small group Bible study that, you could find friends that could last a lifetime, I cannot make this promise to you.
Unfortunately, many Christians within Christian culture will act as though they care about you, only to later talk about you behind your back and hurt you. This is a painful reality, and if you are an unbeliever, this could lead you to walk away from Christianity altogether.
As a Christian speaking to other Christians, make sure you don’t make this mistake. Genuinely care about other people and follow the Bible’s teaching of placing others above yourself.
You should care about and love all people because Jesus cares about everyone and loves each person dearly.
If you are judging others for the way they look, dress, or talk, you are not following or obeying God. You are being unrighteous judges, who will be judged by the true Judge.
What Does This Mean?
Even though friends will hurt us, it is best to forgive them. It doesn’t mean what they did is okay, but rather, it means you are giving the situation over to God. If a friend has hurt you on more than one occasion, it might be best to distance yourself from that individual.
Moreover, if a friend has stopped talking with you or has completely ghosted you, don’t take it personally. It could be they are struggling with something and may contact you sometime in the future. Even if they never contact you, don’t let it damage your self-worth.
Sadly, not many of our friends are lifelong friends, but we all have one lifelong friend who is always with us, and He will never hurt us — God. God promises to be with us always, and we can always go to Him.
He will never hurt us or cause us pain. God only has love, support, and encouragement for us. When your friends hurt you, turn to God and find encouragement from the great love He has for you.
Pray for Him to help you find real friends, and He will help you. It is hard to find real friends in this world, but we all have a forever friend in God.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.