Broken Relationships

fellowship in sufferings; he learned obedience by what he suffered, and every son is to be scourged that is received

John Owen, Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Part 2, Chapter 101

How do you process the death of a relationship? How do you deal with the moment when the other person says he or she wants nothing more to do with you? How do you work through the hurt, grief, confusion, bitterness, disappointment, fear, self-justification, anger2, and rejection?

There is quite a bit we could say about these questions, but Owen provides a helpful reminder that suffering is one type of fellowship we have with Jesus. Jesus learned obedience by what he suffered. Should we, then, expect to avoid suffering? God will bring suffering into our lives. He disciplines us as sons if we are in Christ. Why? It is “for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10)3. Sometimes, he does this through the breakup of a relationship.

1 Owen, John. Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Public domain. Republished by CCEL. Accessed September 25, 2021.

2 I started reading Good & Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness by David Powlison recently. I’d highly recommend it. I’m not very far into the book, but it’s already been a helpful look at the good and bad sides of anger. It’s been thought-provoking.

3 Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.