It’s unrealistic to think we can go through life without suffering occasionally. As human beings, we can expect it; this includes the pain from a broken relationship. The friendships and marriages we invest in emotionally mean a great deal to us, and therefore it’s devastating when criticism, strife, and bickering tear them apart. However, destruction isn’t in God’s plans for us; applying His Word gives us what we need to restore those relationships.
We are spirit beings living in physical bodies and possessing souls, which are where our thoughts and feelings reside. God wants healing and wholeness for us, not just in our bodies, but also in our emotions. To be whole is to have nothing missing and nothing broken in our lives; God’s will is for us not to want for any good thing. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…He restoreth my soul…” (Psalm 23:1, 3). Sometimes the most important type of healing and restoration is the kind we can’t see with our physical eyes.
A critical spirit can cause estranged relationships; this is heartbreaking and emotionally wounding. Whether we drift away emotionally or angrily go our separate ways after a bitter argument, the end result is the same. The aftereffects can leave us feeling heartsick and wishing we could reconcile. Asking God for help when we face this type of situation allows Him to intervene on our behalf. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Our words can hurt, as anyone who has been on the receiving end of cruel, thoughtless remarks can testify to. Words are spiritual containers that carry the power to tear someone down and destroy them. Alternatively, they can also build up, edify, and heal, especially God’s Word. Jesus was God’s Word in the flesh; one of the reasons He was sent to us was to bring healing to all of our broken, destroyed relationships. “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:20).
Carefully chosen words aid in the healing process; talking through an issue helps mend the relationship when two people are deadlocked. This can happen between friends, relatives, or spouses. It may be tempting to simply shut down and give the other person the silent treatment after an argument, but that doesn’t address the problem. Paul was serious about healing broken relationships, which requires communicating in love, not in anger or arrogance. “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:15, 25-27, NLT).
Kindness goes a long way in restoring relationships. Not only what we say, but also how we say it, can bring people back together after harsh words were spoken. There’s always more than one perspective on an issue, and no one is perfect; whether or not we agree on something, we must always be ready to forgive. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31, 32). We’re bound to disagree occasionally, but allowing God to guide our relationships lets Him bless and strengthen them.