How Do You Repair Broken Relationships?

Mar 19, 2014 by

broken glass


Interestingly, Jerolyn and I were thinking on the same theme this week while we were separated because of schedules and didn’t collaborate on the blogs. If you missed it, read Jerolyn’s blog on mending a broken relationship from Tuesday. Maybe this theme is something you need to hear this week.

It seems easy for many of you, me included, to blame others for our issues. “They make me mad,” we say. We choose to be mad. They may have done something wrong, but we need to own our emotions and our responses and reactions. We need to take responsibility for our actions…sound familiar? Yes, I’ve preached it to my kids and others for a long time, but when it sneaks back into my life, what do I do about it?

Recently, when traveling to a conference, I was reading a book that was to be presented. While I was reading on the plane, I was prompted to make some relationships as right as I could as far as it depended on me.

Now, I will say, I wrestled with this for a bit because in some of the relationships, I was convinced that I was not the one who wronged but certain I had been wronged. I had not said or done the wrong things, I thought. But the truth was I needed to own my part and responsibility. What had I done to cause the reaction, hurt, or brokenness in the relationship? How could I own and make the relationship better?

It goes back to the simple lesson we were taught when we were but small human beings learning to live with other people…I needed to say I was sorry and ask for forgiveness for my part in causing the problem. I had treated them poorly, did not lead well, didn’t give them proper appreciation, or did not do all I could to make sure I was helping the relationship win. These were friends, and I had caused a disconnect.

So, there I was with a dilemma. I was reminded of 3 different people that I needed to apologize to and ask for forgiveness, or I could choose to live in the perception that it was their fault, justice needed to be addressed, or they just didn’t understand and I was the one in the right. The Bible says to keep short accounts — to not allow anything to develop that will cause a relationship to be broken. In fact, it says, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. It did depend on me. It was up to me.

sorrySo, that is what I did; I made, what maybe has become a lost or ancient word, restitution. I contacted those I felt God had spoken to me about and asked for forgiveness for my part in causing the rift in our relationship.

This may sound like I am some kind of better person, but it is simply being the best person I can become and doing what is right.

Remember the lesson we learned long ago of saying, “I’m sorry?” “Please forgive me,” may be one of the best reminders we can have as adults to repair relationships. We want to live in healthy relationships, and we need to do what is right, “as far as it depends on you.” We really do desire to live in strong and good relationships living with and loving others.

Not only for friendships and other relationships, but how about those closest and most important to us? For Jerolyn, my wife, and I saying we’re sorry has become a more readily used phrase in our relationship. We may have meant what we said or it needed to be said, but the tone we used, sharp words, or attitude (motive) in which we said it was completely wrong and inappropriate. We are still learning to quickly say” “I am sorry for that,” ask forgiveness, and keep our marriage strong and healthy.

  • To whom do you need to say I am sorry and ask for forgiveness?
  • What relationships need you to take ownership and make as right as possible depending on you?
  • When was the last time you apologized to someone for the way you treated them?
  • What are you harboring, blaming others for, in a broken relationship? What ownership do you need to take?

~ Jim


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