How can I heal from the hurt of a broken relationship?
Question: "How can I heal from the hurt of a broken relationship?"
Answer: The world is full of people with broken hearts, broken spirits, and broken relationships. The pain of a broken relationship includes a very real sense of personal loss, not unlike bereavement. Sometimes the hurt is so great it prevents people from functioning properly and, in extreme cases, can result in mental breakdown or even a desire to commit suicide. The world puts forward various ways to assuage the pain: taking antidepressants, writing an angry letter and tearing it up, going on a shopping spree, getting a makeover, etc. Some advocate the power of positive thinking. The most common “cure” is time. While the intensity of a heartbreak may wane over time, only a child of God can experience complete recovery because only the Christian has access to the power of the Spirit of God, the One who “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Jesus understands the pain of rejection. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11, ESV). Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest associates (John 6:71; cf. Psalm 41:9). As we deal with the pain of a broken relationship, we must take our burdens to the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). He weeps with those who weep (John 11:35), and He is able to “empathize with our weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15).
A broken relationship can be the source of many negative emotions. Christians understand the futility of allowing their emotions to guide them. Jesus Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and has made us accepted in Him (Ephesians 1:3, 6). This acceptance transcends all feelings of rejection we may have because it is not based on “hope so” but on “know so.” We know that God has accepted us because God’s Word tells us so, and as we appropriate this truth by faith, it changes our hearts and lives.
Everyone experiences the hurt of a broken relationship at one time or another. We are bound to be hurt and disappointed, for we live in a fallen world. What we choose to do with that hurt and disappointment can make us stronger in our walk with the Lord. God promises to walk through the disappointments in life with us (Hebrews 13:5), and He wants us to know His provision for us is sure. His grace and comfort are ours as we rest in Him.
Every born-again child of God has blessings in Christ, but we have to choose to utilize them. Living in constant gloom and dejection over a broken relationship is like having a million dollars in the bank and living like a pauper because we never make a withdrawal. It is also true that we cannot use what we do not know. Therefore, every believer should seek to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18) and to be “transformed by the renewing of [his] mind” (Romans 12:2). We must face life armed with a real understanding of what it means to walk by faith.
As believers we are not defined by past failures, disappointment, or the rejection of others. We are defined by our relationship with God. We are His children, born again to newness of life, endowed with every spiritual blessing, and accepted in Christ Jesus. We have the faith that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).
God has prepared for each of us unique opportunities to walk through the “all things” of this life. We can either walk in our own strength and what the apostle Paul calls our “flesh,” or we can walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is our choice. God has provided us with armor, but it is up to us to wear it (Ephesians 6:11–18).
We may suffer disappointment in this life, but we are children of the King, and the rejection we experience is a momentary bump in the road to glory. We can allow that bump to derail us, or we can claim the heritage of a child of God and move forward in His grace. Like Paul, we can be “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
Forgiveness of others is important to the healing process. Holding on to bitterness or nursing a grudge only poisons our own spirit. Yes, we may have been truly wronged, and, yes, the pain is real, but there is freedom in forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift we can give because it was given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:32).
What a comfort to know the God who said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God is always near to comfort the believer. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). God, who cannot lie, has promised to go through our trials with us: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2).
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). In reality, feelings come from thoughts, so, to change how we feel, we should change how we think. And this is what God wants us to do. In Philippians 2:5, Christians are told, “Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” In Philippians 4:8, Christians are told to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. Colossians 3:2 says to “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” As we do this, our feelings of rejection diminish.
Overcoming the hurt of a broken relationship requires taking one day at a time, praying for God’s guidance, and reading and meditating on God’s Word. The healing can never come from our own efforts; it comes only from the Lord. It helps to take our eyes off ourselves and focus on God instead. He can make us whole. He can take our brokenness and make us into what He wants us to be. A broken relationship is painful, but the Lord is gracious. He can give our lives meaning, purpose, and joy. Jesus said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37). Our Lord’s relationship with His children is one that will never be broken.
Recommended Resource: I Kissed Dating Goodbye, A New Attitude Toward Romance and Relationships by Joshua Harris.
Define the Relationship: A Candid Look at Breaking Up, Making Up, and Dating Well by Jeramy Clark.
The Ten Commandments of Dating by Young & Adams.
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Questions about Relationships
How can I heal from the hurt of a broken relationship?