There’s so much I could say about broken relationships, having had quite a few of them. I’ve been able to patch most of them up. There are some that may never be rebuilt because I lit the bridge on fire then watered the ashes and kicked ’em to the winds at the time. It’s something I regret, but it happened. If you have a broken relationship in your life and you haven’t burnt the bridge, this article gives you some good tips in restoring and reconciliation.
Here are 5 ways to rebuild a relationship that’s broken in the hopes that it can be restored.
Build a Bridge, Don’t Burn It
Unless we keep the lines of communication open, there is little hope of ever salvaging a relationship. You cannot burn a bridge and hope to return over it. No one can ever solve any problem with someone else by severing the possibility of an open dialogue. It would be like expecting two nations to come to a peaceful solution to their conflict but never having any discussion. You cannot ever hope to rebuild a broken relationship until one or both parties humble themselves and come to the other. It is important to make the issue or the cause of the rift as the focus of the problem and not the person or persons. Think of it this way; our church had a disagreement over something some time ago. It started to get a little person but then we saw the need to put the topic or issue in the center of the table and look at that as the main issue, not the people. The problem wasn’t the people, it was the thing over which they disagreed. Move the issue to the center of the focus and if necessary, compromise but by all means keep from burning that bride of communication because then they’re never be any hope to restore the relationship.
God is opposed to the proud and other people are opposed to prideful people too. God will not work with a person who is full of themselves and others find it difficult too when trying to work with others who have prideful hearts. When a person is saved, they have to humble themselves before God will give them His grace (James 4:6) and in a similar way, people will not be willing to extend a graceful attitude if the person retains a prideful attitude. Pride has no room in a relationship and when two people reach a disagreement, there can never be any hope of restoring or rebuilding the relationship until someone or both humble themselves. I have found over time that the quickest way to have two parties who have reached an impasse come to reconciliation is by at least one of the parties humbling themselves. You cannot have a forgiving attitude while still being full of pride and someone who’s full of pride will never be humble enough to extend forgiveness or ask for forgiveness.
I think if more of us take ownership of our part in a rift or confess our faults to others, relationships might never be broken. We need to take responsibility for our actions and own our part in the rift between two people. This means confessing that you could have done something differently or that you were mistaken in the way that you handled a situation and you take responsibility for your actions. If more of the world lived in such a way, I believe that there would be a lot less civil lawsuits in the land and fewer people would be suing one another over what are sometimes trivial matters.
Let it Go and Set it Free
What I mean by writing “let it go and set it free” is to just drop it if it’s not a critical issue or problem. Look at what it is that’s causing the rift. Is it really worth destroying such a valuable relationship over? Are we willing to throw away the blessing of a friendship over one simple thing? Is the issue more important than the person that you have a disagreement over? I doubt very much that most things that come up between two parties can outweigh the benefit of the relationship between them. Sometimes it’s best to just let it go. The Proverbs and even the Apostle Peter write that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet 4:8) so we should see that covering something over or just overlooking it is the most loving thing a person can do. Ask yourself, is it really worth losing a friendship that has taken years to develop? Is it an important enough problem to throw away a relationship that has probably been such a blessing for so long? The answer is most likely “No, it’s not.”
See things through their Eyes
I searched for other solutions to finding ways to rebuild a broken relationship but most of them sounded so trivial and somewhat selfish. One bit of advice said “focus on yourself” while another author wrote “do things differently” but this puts the focus on us and not on the issue or how the person you’re in disagreement with looks at it. Try to see it through their eyes. Ask how they feel about it and stay away judgmental words like “You must have known this was wrong” because only God can see into the human heart and know our thoughts and intents (Jer 17:10) and we cannot. We can assume something but we certainly be wrong about their motivations or intentions. Paul wrote that “Love believes all things” (1 Cor 13:7) which I believe means that love gives people the benefit of the doubt.
The older we get, the more valuable I believe our relationships and friendships become. You can replace something that’s broken but you can’t replace people. We need one another. We are stronger when we have strong relationships with one another. We are stronger together but weaker alone. Solomon was right when he wrote “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up” (Eccl 4:10). When you fall down and we all do, it’s better to have someone there to help you and it’s worth every effort to try to rebuild a broken relationship.
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman