Photo by Kelly Sikkema
Relationships often consist of two broken people. Any relationship no matter how great will have a level of brokenness, some more than others.
Most people give up on relationships when they begin to see the brokenness. Not every relationship needs to be thrown away. However, there has to be specific things in place for restoration to be possible.
Today I’m discussing the things we put in place for restoration to happen in our relationships.
Trust is a vital component in a healthy thriving relationship. We build a relationship on the foundation of our trust for each other. When we say we trust someone, we believe in their intention for us where that relationship is concerned. We believe in their ability to have our back. We believe in their ability to make choices that protect us and the relationship. Trust enables us to give the other person access to our hearts. We can be open and vulnerable because we trust them.
The first thing that is affected in a broken relationship is trust. Our ability to be open and vulnerable is affected when there is distrust. Where trust has been broken, there will be a need for both parties to slowly find their way back into trust. It can be the most difficult thing to restore but it is not impossible.
We earn back people’s trust by proving that we have the best intentions for them; by proving that we have their backs; by doing things that reassure them that they can depend on us. We do whatever it takes to assure them that we can be trusted with their hearts again.
Connection is the ability to see the other person and be seen in return. When we feel seen in a relationship it gives a sense of belonging and peace. Another word for connection is intimacy. Intimacy requires nakedness, we cannot be seen without being naked.
In a marriage covenant, this is threefold emotionally, spiritually and physically. We are told in Genesis 2:25 And the man and the woman were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence.
This true intimacy, when we can be vulnerable and completely naked without embarrassment or shame.
Disconnect comes in when feel the need to hide some parts of ourselves from the other person for fear we will not be accepted. People hide when they feel unsafe. When one or both people are hiding a part of themselves there will be a disconnect in the relationship. We cannot build a thriving relationship and hide ourselves.
Where there have been mistakes, there is a need to restore connection by becoming uncovered in every way. We also create a space where there is safety for nakedness in the relationship. We create safety by choosing vulnerability first. We give the other person the green light that they can be vulnerable and naked too. We don’t heal a relationship by hiding; we heal it by re-learning and choosing to be vulnerable again. We restore it by restoring the connection.
Honor and respect
Honor is giving preference to the other person in the relationship. Honor says to the other person, I give weight to who you are as a person. I respect your values and beliefs. I also give weight to this relationship. Because I honor you, I will not intentionally do things that undermine you or this relationship.
Dishonor and disrespect devalues a relationship. We cannot invest in something that we are continually disrespecting. We cannot make sacrifices where we don’t place weight on something or someone. We cannot protect that which we do not honor and respect.
Restoring a broken relationship lies largely on placing back the honor and respect that has been missing from it. There are so many things we will not do in a relationship because we value and honor the other person. There are so many things we will not say out of our understanding of the place of honor and respect in building a healthy relationship.
We don’t demand honor from the other person, we sow it so it can come back to us as a harvest. I love this reminder in Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. ESV says…Outdo one another in showing honor.
Honor is a seed that brings a harvest in a relationship. We don’t honor people because they deserve it. We honor people because it’s the harvest we want coming back to us.
At the bedrock of every successful relationship is forgiveness. Forgiveness in a relationship is two folds, one, we forgive the other person to protect our heart from resentment and bitterness. Second, we give the person the gift of our forgiveness to restore them in the relationship. This means, we can forgive people without restoring them in the relationship in situations where their behavior is bringing harm to our lives. We can withhold restoring people back into the relationship where there is no repentance.
Relating with people doesn’t negate our responsibility of taking care of our hearts. We protect our hearts where someone will not take responsibility for the pain and hurt they have caused us.
A relationship requires a certain forbearance to thrive. We learn how to tolerate each other. We give room for people to hurt us; we make room for mistakes. Forbearance and tolerance say, “You probably will do this again but I make room for you to make mistakes and grow from them.”
This is not a license for us to tolerate everything and anything. There is a need for a healthy balance here. We can tolerate anything that doesn’t largely affect the thriving of our relationship. We can tolerate people’s weaknesses and faults. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t tolerate anything that allows dishonor and disrespect because it will undermine the health of our relationship.
Repentance is more than just saying I’m sorry. Repentance is looking at our mistakes and getting to the root of things and putting in the hard work to do things differently. Sometimes sorry is people’s excuse to do it again. Repentance also requires a change of heart. We cannot change what we don’t think is a problem. When we see how our behavior affects others we are able to walk in repentance. Sometimes, forgiveness requires repentance because this is the only way the relationship can be restored.
The power of consequences
Consequences tell us that our choices and actions have an impact. Without it, we will probably be tempted to repeat our mistakes again. It is important that people experience the consequences of their actions because it is the only thing that will bring change. If we shield people from having to face the consequences, we short-circuit their ability to truly repent and change.
We can forgive without removing the consequences of their actions. Don’t take away someone’s ability to feel the pain that their actions have brought into the relationship. Don’t take away the pain of someone having to redo the things they did in carelessness. Forgiveness takes away the punishment of people losing their position in the relationship. It doesn’t take away responsibility. It empowers people to come in and do the hard work of undoing their mess. It gives people the responsibility of doing what it takes to restore the relationship back to where it was.
There is a need to allow time for the hurts to heal. I don’t believe time heals wounds. Time has an uncanny way of hiding our wounds until something happens and we are back where we started. I believe that God heals all wounds. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]. Psalm 147:3 Amplified
Healing enables forgiveness because if the mistake is repeated it will not reap apart and reawaken old wounds. Healing enables the relationship to move forward.
Don’t rush someone into healing, allow people to heal in their own timing. If you need to take time away from the relationship to heal then do so. Don’t feel the pressure to rush back into a relationship. The health of our hearts and souls is important in restoring a broken relationship. If our hearts are not healthy chances are we will create more brokenness rather than heal the relationship.
The Grace of God
Grace is what enables forgiveness where it feels impossible. Grace is what restores people into a relationship that they would have otherwise lost. Grace is what enables redemption where redemption doesn’t seem possible. God can reconcile all things. He can rebuild what is broken beyond repair. Nothing is beyond restoration and redemption if God is in it. His grace enables two broken people to build and sustain a healthy thriving relationship.
I always say, that ours isn’t a perfect relationship it is a redeemed relationship and this makes all the difference.
If you are in a relationship that has brought pain and hurt in your life, my prayer for you is that God will so heal you and your relationship. That there will be restoration and newness to your relationship. In such a way that someone looking at it would not be able to tell what you have been through. I pray that people will see the power of God’s grace, redemption, and restoration in your relationship and believe God for the same.