Friends do not expect us to be perfect-nor do we expect them to be. Sometimes we will share our mistakes and even our deeper faults with one another. This can be a great aid in the healing process in the varied situations of our lives.
Friends sometimes have serious differences of opinion with each other. This is to be expected. A vigorous discussion can help us to clarify our opinions and appreciate the insights of our friends.
Occasionally, friends will actually offend one another. Our deeper faults and our sinfulness can affect our friendships.
Forgiveness is appropriate to friendship. None of us will be perfect in this life. We all have sinful patterns of acting. We need to accept that this is true even in our closest relationships.
The need to acknowledge the offense comes first. Denial comes easily to all of us. "Nothing really happened" or ‘it wasn't that important" we say to ourselves.
Acknowledging the fault is the hardest thing to do. Asking forgiveness is second. Both require a considerable amount of humility. I always remember a friend of mine who asked for forgiveness from her teenage son. I thought that this was remarkable. She said that in this instance she was wrong and should practice what she preached! I admired her humility.
We can pray to the Spirit for healing once we come to acknowledge the problem. Divine grace can bring about healing. This may involve bringing the situation into our daily prayer and letting the Spirit speak to us.
- Sometimes we need to acknowledge our fault in the Sacrament of Penance.
- In the Eucharist we can experience the mercy of Christ as we pray together with the community for forgiveness.
- Healing is a process. We should try to be patient with our own feelings or those of our friend. Healing can take time.
We will eventually need to have a conversation about what is troubling our relationship. We may need to ask for forgiveness. Sensitivity and honesty are necessary. Humility and patience are virtues that come to the fore. Personal reconciliation is not a loss of memory but rather a letting go of the past.
Christians are called to be people of peace. The grace of the Holy Spirit brings this inner peace. As long as we are human we will be in need of healing. This healing can bring us back to the peace of Christ in ourselves and in our relationships with one another.
Friendships can sometimes become stronger than they were before the reconciliation. The healing process calls us to a deeper level of spiritual maturity.
John W. Crossin, OSFS