By Steve Arterburn, Crosswalk.com
It’d be nice if healing a broken relationship could be achieved with the right Hallmark card and some beautiful flowers, but it doesn’t work that way. We must bring so much more to the table.
Fixing a broken relationship is a long process. Sometimes it can take months or even years. And because bringing together two people who have moved far apart takes tremendous time and effort, one must prepare accordingly. You wouldn’t take off hiking in the woods for two weeks with nothing but what you could fit into your pants pockets. You’d starve to death. Instead, you’d pack everything needed for going the long haul.
You must get ready for your big trip, and once you’re as prepared as you can be, you start by pacing yourself. You don’t start running. You don’t skip. What you do is walk at any easy, comfortable pace. You walk understanding that you have a long way to go. Same with a relationship you’re trying to heal. Take it slowly, and take it steadily.
You can’t plan ahead with the same kind of exactness as when planning a hiking or camping trip, but you can certainly bear in mind that, just like with outdoor excursions, healing a relationship will entail all kinds of steps, periodic assessments of progress, and fruitful planning.
It won’t, in other words, be effortless.
When it comes to creating a loving, healthy bond out of what may now be only a source of stress and regret, there’s one thing you must have with you the whole time. And, like water on a hiking trip, it has to be the one thing you know for sure will never deplete: the fullness of God in your heart.
Fixing a broken relationship is all about loving and giving from a heart filled with God’s compassionate presence. A heart filled with the joyous appreciation of all that God can make of us. This heart wants to give…to give and give until the object of its giving is at a loss to do anything but, finally, accept that love.
That is how you heal a broken relationship. You give out of the fullness of your heart, which refills itself, right up to the top, in exact equal measure to whatever its love is joyfully given to another.
The key, of course, is to learn how to never run out of the fullness of God’s love.
Turn to the Source
That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. The whole town gathered at the door to watch. So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak. Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to a secluded place to pray (Mark 1:32-35).
There’s nothing I or anyone else can say that more perfectly captures how vital it is that every one of Jesus’ followers takes time out every day to go to his or her own “isolated place” and pray to God for strength and inspiration.
It amazes me how few Christians set aside time in their everyday lives to put down their concerns of the moment, sit, read Scripture, and pray to God. How much better would your life be if you took the time to do that every single day? Are you too busy running here and going there, taking care of this and handling that, to remember to care for the soul God has entrusted to you?
There are as many great reasons to regularly pray to God as there are to live and breathe and stay alive. One of the greatest is the good it can do you as you struggle to heal a broken relationship. Once again, the key to successfully healing the wounds between you and another is to give. Give your love. Give your peace. Give your generosity of spirit. Give your heart. Give, above all, your forgiveness.
We say or hear that it’s better to give than to receive all the time. But how often do we actually give rather than receive? How often do we really experience just how true that saying is?
Well, if you’re trying to bond with someone you’ve broken with, it’s time you got back in touch with the truth about the real relationship between giving and receiving. Giving and giving all the love you have to another person isn’t the only way you can ever heal with them. It’s also the only way God can keep giving and giving all of his love to you.
If you keep giving, are you eventually going to get depleted? Well, what must God’s children do if we want to make sure we never run out of the love we keep on giving? Turn and run to God and get more. Only he can keep us in full supply of all the love we need if we’re going to keep giving as much as we can.
Remember the above passage? Jesus felt it necessary, after all his giving and healing, to turn very soon thereafter to his Father in order to replenish his supply of love, compassion, and strength. We should do nothing different. Never forget, when you’re doing the loving business of healing with another, to return, every single day, to the source of all our healing.
You can learn more about Steve Arterburn’s book, 6 Things Every Relationship Needs, here!
Steve Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show, New Life Live! He is the founder of Women of Faith conferences and serves as a teaching pastor at Heartland Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Steve is a bestselling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle and Healing is a Choice. The above excerpt is from his book 6 Things Every Relationship Needs. Steve resides with his family in Fishers, Indiana.