How to Love Your Sister, Even When She's Not Loveable

by Lysandra Marr 

Have you ever felt like one of your closest or best friends turned on you? 

One day, you walk into school or church and you suddenly feel like an outsider.  Maybe you aren’t sure what’s different or maybe you are; either way, it’s not a good feeling.  You know there are always people that are going to rub you the wrong way, people that try your patience or that you just don’t connect with, but you never imagined it would be someone so dear to you, someone that knows you so well, someone that supposedly “loves” you as their BFF and/or Sister in Christ!!  Naturally, you probably put your guard up, maybe become defensive or isolated yourself from that person or even the group. So, where do you go from here?

You may think you need to try and confront your friend or go to another close friend and try and figure what’s happened. Maybe you already know what the issue is and you just pull a different friend aside to “ask her opinion” on the situation, which turns into a gossip fest or bashing session of others. This is very often the beginning of a very intense, dramatic situation that is torturous for all involved.  Peoples’ feelings get hurt, friendships are put to the test and the end result is uncertain.

What does the Bible say about Love?

For starters, Jesus tells us to “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” -John 15:12-13  Does this mean that we are supposed to sacrifice our opinions, feelings or reputation as an act of love for our friend? The same friend that has alienated us and has hurt us so badly! That friend is clearly no showing love by their actions, why should we show love in return? What’s the test of loving one another?

In John 13:34-38 Jesus speaks of loving one another all the while knowing his friend was going to deny him.  ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”” Peter’s feelings must have been hurt by Jesus’ response. Peter truly thought in his heart that he was right! He loved Jesus and he knew he would never deny him! All the other disciples said the same thing Peter said, that they would never disown Jesus [Matthew 26:35].  But Jesus knew his friend would deny him and he was simply speaking the truth. Our hearts lead us astray many times in life [Jer 17:9], just as Peter’s heart lied to him, but God’s Word is steadfast and true forever [1Peter 1:22-25], just as Jesus spoke the truth to Peter. Jesus still loved Peter, just as he loved every one of the sinful people, even those that demanded his crucifixion. We are called to love one another as Jesus loves us. He loves us despite our sin, our transgressions, even putting him to death for no reason! Regardless of our friends’ sin, we are told to love them as we are loved! So, now that we know we are to love our friend through the pain, what’s our next step?

What does the Bible say about restoring friendships?

Step 1: Pray about it!

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Step 2: Be gentle and talk with that person in an effort to restore the friendship.

Galatians 6:1 tells us, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

Step 3: Once you’ve pointed out the issue and spoken with your friend, hopefully you are able to put the problem behind you.

Matthew 18:15 tells us, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

Step 4: If you’re unable to come to a resolution, bring in one or two other unbiased, godly people to help work through the issue to restore the friendship.

Matthew 18:16 tells us, “But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

Step 5: FORGIVE and Move On! 

Ephesians 4:32 tells us, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Keep Calm and LOVE!

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” –Matthew 18:20 Friendship is a beautiful thing! God gave us one another for a reason. Even Adam was alone, so God created Eve as Adam’s helper. [Genesis 2:18] Friendship is designed by God, but we need to obey his commands to make it work the way he intended it. Remember, Satan is always trying to create division amongst God’s people. Even he knows that we are stronger in numbers then if left by ourselves [1Peter 5:8]. Try not to sweat the small stuff. We all stumble during our friendships, but that also creates growth and builds stronger bonds long-term. As I’ve always told my children, these aren’t my rules, their God’s rules; and who are we to argue with God!

Friendship is Unity!

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” –Colossians 3:13-14

Unity is Love!

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” -1Peter 3:8

And Love…

“Love Never Fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:8

 

Mike Kocik