This post addresses near-budding relationships that don’t take off.
I have often been amazed at how two people can share the same experience, but have different perspectives. Same preacher – one person was blessed… the other one received nothing. Same meal – one person enjoys it, one cannot take a second bite. Same song – for one person it’s on repeat; the other person cannot stand it. Same piece of art – one sees creativity; one sees child play. One meeting between a man and a woman – one foresees a budding romantic friendship; the other has zero desire to go in that direction.
I know most of you have been there. It was a great date. Conversation flowed. You both love Jesus passionately. You both love the outdoors. You both hated Chemistry in high school. You have a bunch of mutual friends. And yes, you have both read that great book about Christian dating. And for the attraction… check… or so you thought. You were so sure this was it. You can hardly wait to see him or her again – multiple times. You want to know them more…. Until you realize the other person does not want to see you again, to put it plainly. Or, if they do, they are simply being polite. He does not call to plan for a second meeting… she starts to avoid you and does not reply to your messages or return calls.
What do you do when you find yourself in this place? I have found myself disillusioned. The worst feeling is the creeping feeling of helplessness, knowing I cannot control another’s actions. Lord, I prayed…. I was so sure it was headed somewhere. Why can’t he see how much we have in common? What changed within one conversation? Within one day? Did I say something wrong?
I have also found myself responding with intense arrogance and pride – I don’t need you either. In fact, I didn’t even need you in the first place. I do not verbalize these things – but God knows it when these responses are in our hearts. We feel angry. Our pride is hurt. Outwardly, we may behave properly and not say anything to that person, but inside our hearts, we may harbour anger and bitterness.
A Better Response
Ps 25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
We cannot control what others do to us – but we can control our responses.
- Humble yourself before the Lord. Confess the feelings of anger, bitterness and acknowledge them as sin. It is important to keep a pure heart.
- Don’t blame God. Don’t ask God –why did you mislead me? God never misleads. The book of James says God does not tempt us with evil.
Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. Jas 1:14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
- Respect people’s choices. People have a God-given right to make choices. Sometimes their choices will hurt us. Sometimes your choices will hurt them. Sometimes people make choices because they are unhealthy on the inside and don’t know a better way how to handle situations. Sometimes they don’t sense God’s leading in the matter, and they do not know how to tell you. Sometimes, it may be a certain revelation along your journey that caused them to pull away. Whatever the case, people have a right not to be with you. It’s as simple as that.
- Forgive. Whether the person meant to hurt you or not, you need to forgive. Release them. Bless them. Release them to run their God-given race.
Col 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Trust God. God orders your steps. God still has a good plan for your life. Pull out God’s promises for your life and meditate on them. God’s word endures forever and you know what…people’s choices don’t interfere with His plan for your life. Make a choice to trust. Which simply means you let go even when you don’t have answers. Trust means you confidently believe God’s promises for your life. If that person is meant to be part of your journey, the Lord can work it out. Think of the blessings He has given you in other areas – good friends who want to be with you. He can give you someone who CHOOSES to be with you.
Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
- Spend time with God. Worship Him. Allow him to speak to you and comfort you. Allow yourself to feel the brokenness from the disappointment. The other alternative is to pretend you are not hurt, which is a form of pride. Ask the Lord if He would have you take any steps. At this juncture when your emotions are still raw from disappointment, talk less to people and more to God. Talk less to the person who disappointed you. See the more you talk about it the more it grows. Pray for them and bless them but don’t extend the healing period through unnecessary talking. Ask God for help – He loves to help us.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- Walk in love no matter what. What does love look like in this context? Love wants God’s best for the other person, even when it means you not being in their life. Love means you don’t speak ill of the person who hurt you. Do not rant on social media! Love also means you don’t allow bitterness and hatred to sprout in your heart.
1 John 2:10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 1 John 2:11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
1Cor 13:6 Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
God is able to bring good out of any situation. Trust Him.
Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Grace to you.