Helping Our Children Navigate Friendships

Thoughts of my years in high school conjure up a lot of memories. There are two that stand out the most. 

The first memory relates to my time spent with my gymnastics family; practicing, competing, and doing life together inside the gym. While we all have our separate lives today, this small group of women and the experiences we had remain in my heart as some of my most treasured moments I had growing up. 

I wish I could say the same about my friendships outside of the gym. Like my gymnastics years, friendships are the second most memorable moments of high school, but not in the way I dreamt or hoped.

It was during this time of my life that I struggled to find and keep good friends; friends who loved me for me and who cared for who I was and who I was becoming. And while I don’t regret those moments, I do feel the pain years later as my own children sometimes struggle to find true and lasting friendships. 

As their mama, I am trying my best to direct my children as they should go (Proverbs 22:6); one where Biblical truth builds not only the foundation for how to be a good friend, but also how to respond to others who cause pain and hurt. 

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While my guidance is never perfect (nor do I aim it to be), the six Biblical truths written below guide me, and hopefully you, as we mama together showing our children how to love on, give grace to, and offer forgiveness to others. These truths are written in such a way that speak directly to your children’s hearts. 

When A Friend Hurts You, Remember To: 

Guard your heart by choosing to walk away. 

“Good people stay away from evil. By watching what they do, they protect their lives.” (Proverbs 16:17)

Sometimes the most God-honoring response you can have to those hurting you is to intentionally walk away. God knows the importance of guarding your heart and He asks you to guard yours by choosing your friends wisely. Find friends who are quick to listen and quick to forgive, and who encourage you to be you, the person God created you to be. 

Bless those who hurt you.

“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.” (1 Peter 4: 8-9). 

It is in our human nature to want to retaliate hurt for hurt. God, however, wants you to bless those who hurt you. A smile, a hi in the hallway, an encouraging note, or a willingness to help them says to this person, “No matter how much you hurt me, I still care about you as a person.”

Search for peace and work to maintain it.

“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 4: 10-12) 

God graces us with a fresh start everyday. Use this fresh start to look for ways that you can work to find and maintain peace with those who hurt you. Eliminating and stopping gossip is a great way to maintain this peace. 

Forgive those who hurt you.

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

One of the hardest things you will have to do throughout your life is to forgive. It can be easy to think you don’t need or want to forgive those who hurt you. But, God so graciously forgave you and continues to forgive you when you falter. Because God forgive you, He is asking you to forgive others. 

Love those who hurt you.  

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

We often think of love as being best friends or hanging out with each other. This is only one kind of love. There are many other ways to show love towards others. You could hold the door for them as they walk into school or help them pick up something they dropped in the hallway. You might even show love by holding your tongue when you are tempted to speak ill of them. 

Be patient and show empathy.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 

Always remember this simple truth – Hurt people hurt others. Rather than responding to someone who hurts you, begin to pray, asking God to search this person’s heart and to heal any part of it that is causing pain. Also, pray that God will work through you by giving you His patience and kindness to humbly act as Jesus would. Prayer is always the best way to respond to those who hurt you. 

Mama’s, our roles are critical in our children’s lives, especially as they learn how to be a good friend. Will you join me in using Scripture and prayer to serve as the foundation of how to help our children show love, grace, kindness, and forgiveness to others?

The world needs more people to choose to live and respond to others in radical ways; one that shines Jesus to all. 

Serving Him,

Angie Nippert |

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