I have been hurt before, and I am positive that you have, too. I am friends with people who have hurt me, and I am sure that this is another characteristic we share. I have also gone months distancing myself from people because the contempt I felt towards them overtook my senses. Perhaps you have traversed down the same path for shorter or longer periods of time, or indefinitely. We are all broken by sin, and a large portion of our brokenness emanates from our selfish inclinations.
The selfishness that exists in every human being adds a level of complexity to the relationships we engage in: Selfishness creates deep wounds. I want to love others, but it is hard to love the person that has hurt me. Contempt is much easier to cling to than reconciliation. Relationships become more complicated when your best friend is the person who has injured you the most; thus, you love your friend, even though your fist holds tightly to a grudge you have against them. The hurt we can inflict upon one another is a heartbreaking aspect of being in relationship and of being human. We can allow relationships to slowly dissolve due to hurt and bitterness, but the narrative does not have to end there.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” Human beings are resilient. The fact that you are reading or listening to these words right now is a testament of your resilience. The idea that you are friends with someone who has hurt you, or that those you have hurt still love you, is indicative of the resilience that exists within you and every human being. Reconciliation and forgiveness are foundational components of the resilience that can exist in human relationships. While the resentment you feel towards someone might seem justified, I want to challenge you to examine the intentions behind your contempt. Is there a deeper wound that is propelling your anger forward? Is there an unresolved issue between you and your roommate that causes you to despise every little thing they do? Perhaps you find yourself in a situation where you need to take a break from a relationship in your life. I recognize that some relationships are toxic, and some people might hurt you in a way that transcends minor infractions; relationships of that kind demand separation. It is not a sign of weakness to distance yourself from a person who is perpetually harmful to you.
If it is a safe relationship that is important to you, I want to challenge you to take a break, but return with bold intentions of reconciliation. It is much easier to disconnect from someone who has hurt you than to confront them and extend a spirit of forgiveness. In instances that I have practiced this, as challenging as it was, the relationship was undoubtedly stronger than it was before. Forgiveness does not mean that the hurt you feel disintegrates; rather, you and the person are empowered to move forward with new knowledge on how to better be in relationship with one another. How can you invite reconciliation and resilience into your relationships today? How can you take steps towards a person whom you simultaneously love and feel resentment towards? I encourage you to take the small steps today because even the small steps move you nearer to reconciliation, rather than complacently resting in resentment.