By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Editor’s Note: Crosswalk's Singles Advice is an advice column for singles featuring an anonymous question from a Crosswalk.com reader with a thoughtful, biblical reply from one of our single contributors.
There's a guy who had been consistently sending me daily devotions and greetings for a while. To me it was just a friendly gesture, but I was interested in at least becoming better friends. Months passed and he stopped sending me daily devotions.
Now, every time we see each other, I feel I'm being ignored. Turns out, he was pursuing another lady in church, based on my friends' stories. When I heard that, I felt a little pain. How can I forget this feeling in such a way that I won't harm our relationship as brother and sister in the faith?
This is tough, and I’m so sorry to hear you’ve entered a situation many Christians singles can find all too common: what happens when a Christian brother or sister leads you on and then snubs/ignores you.
It can often look like someone texting you a great deal, sending daily devotions and prayers, or frequently calling or meeting in person, and then communication drops when they’ve found someone else to pursue.
Although the Bible doesn’t have a specific solution for this situation, let’s dive into Scripture to see how you can heal, while treating the man who snubbed you with love and compassion.
Look to Others Who Have been Snubbed or Betrayed
“Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.” Psalm 41:9
Scripture writers knew a thing or two about feelings of betrayal or disappointment from close friends, including the psalmist above.
From this Scripture, know that you don’t experience these feelings alone. Many Christians, whether in pursuit of a romantic relationship or not, have felt betrayed by a friend.
As you heal, find others who have positively healed from a similar situation. You don’t have to stray very far in the church to find them. Most everyone is familiar with the experiences of betrayal.
Look to the One Who Truly Heals
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
During the healing process, turn to the Healer. Only he can bind up wounds and truly bring the peace of mind you need.
Remember, Christ himself knew betrayal extremely well. Twelve of his closest friends deserted him in his time of dire need (Mark 14:50), one of his closest friends betrayed him and led him to his death (Matthew 26:15), and none except John stuck around for his crucifixion.
He knows your pain and will be with you as you recover from this friend who has snubbed you.
Look to Find Ways to Forgive Those Who Wronged 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
This verse is a little hard to swallow.
After all, instinctively when someone snubs or ignores us, we want revenge. But we have to go against those feelings and choose to forgive.
Let’s first address what forgiveness is not.
Forgiveness is not having to spend time with the person or being best friends with them. The Bible encourages us to forgive our enemies (Luke 6:35), but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be friends with our enemies afterward.
Although we do hear countless testimonials from Christians of friendships that have formed from forgiving an enemy, it doesn’t always happen that way.
However, we should still choose to forgive.
Even if they don’t think they did anything wrong. Or even if they never apologize.
Look at Their Character and Exercise Discernment
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’” 1 Corinthians 15:33
I don’t know your friend personally, so this may not apply, but building off the point that you don’t always have to be friends with those you forgive, those we keep in our company will affect our character.
Your friend may have had good intentions by sending you devotionals.
But the fact he sent you devotionals until he started gaining interest in other women does wave some red flags. And the fact he’s ignoring you afterwards in church may show signs of immaturity.
But before cutting off all ties, it may be good to sit down and have a conversation with him about your confusion with the sudden snubbing. It could be as simple as:
“Hey, I know you’d been sending me devotions for a while, and then you stopped communication entirely. I was just wondering what happened.”
That way, you can give him a space to explain his actions, give you an opportunity to forgive him in person, and allow Christ to heal you throughout this process.
I know you want to continue your relationship as a brother and a sister in the faith. Ask God to reveal to you what that looks like. Maybe he’d dropped communication with you, when pursuing another woman, to avoid being tempted to cheat on her.
In that case, maintain your distance. We can still be brothers and sisters in Christ without regularly communicating with one another.
But if he has other reasons, listen to them, and ask God for the best course of action in proceeding with a relationship that will most glorify him and heal your hurting heart.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 450 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.
Disclaimer: any single editor replying to reader questions through this advice column is a Christian seeking God's direction through his Word. We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. As we explore issues with you, we will seek God's guidance through prayer and the Bible.
Have a question? If you have a question about anything related to living the single life, please email [email protected] (selected questions will be addressed anonymously). While we cannot answer every question, we hope you'll find encouragement in this column.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jun
Hope Bolinger is an editor at Salem, a multi-published novelist, and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,200 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy is out with IlluminateYA. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.