The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
Hello, I have been following you for a while and I feel like this is the only place that I can ask this without anyone reacting to me… I learned that my best friend was… seriously harmed by her boyfriend in the beginning of the year. She is hurting really badly from it emotionally and mentally and it really hurts me to see her feeling this way. :( But lately all I can think about is how much I hate the guy who did this to her… do you have advise for her and me? Thank you.
First of all, I am deeply sorry that your friend has gone through such a terrible thing. It is horrifying to think that someone treated her that way, and especially someone she trusted and cared for. It certainly makes sense that you hate this guy. I’ve never met him and I already hate him. In fact this post has taken a while to write because I keep coming up with a solution that involves dude, me and a van load of guys from my day job in Chicago, and what we refer to here as “the laying on of hands”. But, the Bible says don’t repay evil for evil, and that wouldn’t actually do anything to help you or your friend start healing.
The only avenue that gets you on that road to better is forgiveness. Now hear me out, because I know you don’t want to hear about forgiveness. Forgiveness sucks, it is hard and it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and anger is just way easier and more natural, I know. I am not talking about forgiveness meaning that you have to have warm fuzzy feelings about this guy and see his side of things and all that. There is no “his side”. He is scum and that is that. Forgiveness is letting go of your anger so that he doesn’t have to be a part of you or your friend’s life anymore.
As long as you are bitter in your heart towards this guy, then he is exerting control over you. That is not an acceptable situation. You and your friend are not forgiving him so that you can have a restored relationship, there is no reason on Earth why you should want one. Forgiveness is about what you and her need to do to start moving on to a place where this jerk has no influence over your life or feelings at all. We have a saying at the Bridge: men and women of God act, they don’t react. We are called to make our own decisions with the Lord and not be emotionally controlled by people.
This will most likely be very difficult for you, but even more so for your friend. Letting go of a traumatic experience is a massively difficult thing, but you can do it. And you can help her. She needs to talk about this and not hold it in. Not to everyone certainly, but to people she trusts, maybe to authorities if that makes her feel better (that choice is entirely her’s) and maybe to a professional. A counselor or therapist can be a huge help as a guide through trauma and a listening ear.
The key things you can offer your friend are encouragement, empathy, and patience. The thing about moving past something, is that it never happens as fast as we think or hope it should. So often times people start getting down on themselves for being weak for not having moved on. That is when you can be right there to reassure her that there is no timetable. Her healing is about her and you are there for her and you love her and you are proud of how far she has come. She is lucky to have a friend like you and you guys are going to get through this.
-Matt from The Bridge