Crossed Off continues to afford sharing responders’ viewpoints exceeding my original focus, plus an intriguing question that presents a challenging option. Questions are always appreciated.
Friendships—living relationships--although they are treasured, many do not survive in lieu of normal moves, marriages, divorces, deaths, changes in interests, growth in children, retirement, medical problems, aging, financial concerns, etc. But these do not fit into the crossed off category because seeing old friends is delightful, refreshing and energizing. Personally, the picture that floods my mind is what goes on every other year when we have our family reunion. The love and excitement, along with the sight and presence of loved ones brings peaceful tears of joy.
Many share that they have unintentionally or maybe for good reasons also crossed off family ties along with friendships which are bound to affect everyone at some time. A few have never crossed off anyone but have obviously been crossed off, while some struggle with second-guessing their crossing off of someone. People mature and do change their minds about prior spontaneous decisions.
An Intriguing Question: “Your blog hit home. What do you do when you are the one who has crossed someone off and you are afraid to contact the person and apologize for fear they will want to resume the relationship.”
“Thank you for this extremely pertinent question that will be helpful to blog readers in dealing with being crossed off or being the ‘crosser-off’.”
Recall why crossing off appeared to be the right decision at the time. Was your reason legitimate? Something that has been said or done, or not said or not done is what conjures up anger/discomfort. Anger is our friend, sending us warnings about protecting ourselves. It is not sin to be angry. Jesus said
If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matt.5:23-24 (NIV).
Disassociation for emotional or spiritual protection is not a decision that demands an apology. But if the person who cut off the friendship is suffering from a twinge of guilt, exploring the possibility of explaining the basis of the former decision to clear the air may be what God wants that person to do. It may lead to peace for both parties.
Waving, smiling or saying hello when running into that person indicates that you are not mad or holding a grudge, but fear that friendliness would obligate you to resume the original friendship is not necessarily a natural step. If the crossed off person asks for a reason for your caution regarding the friendship, meet that with an honest “I” statement expressing being uncomfortable with conversation content, actions or whatever, but continue to respect your inner cautions. Or take comfort in the old saying Leave well enough alone—to allow something to stay as it is because doing more might make things worse. If the crossed off person pressures the resumption of the friendship, seek counseling before you give in.
If you have an uneasiness, anxiety, guilt feeling or change in mind regarding the reason you had for putting your friendship on hold, or a desire to put them at ease, after prayerfully considering that possibility and receiving a sense of peace, proceed. This could be done in writing if you are hesitant about getting involved in an uncomfortable conversation. You could mention that you dislike being cut off from anyone and want to heal the relationship.
The following responses provide more insight in peacefully managing cross offs. We will go from ‘never’ in the following email from H to an excellent format for dealing with many cross offs from J.
I have never crossed anyone off my list, if that were the case I would not be talking to my son. My husband’s example is not to burn bridges and not to hold a grudge. I was hurt by a decision that involved us that his wife made but which our son allowed. H.
Personalities mixed with hurried, stressed times can really be a mixed mess. Everyone is trying to do so much to make it through their days! And one misstep, one missed word, one short temper and things can blow to The Heavens and, on the wind, never reach the earth for a chance to piece, nor peace, together a troubling situation! Sometimes it's not a bad thing to be written off by someone, just if we keep a sensible and fair perspective after the fact. Sometimes it's Very painful. With some of my family and condo board, and former work staff, I have had many painful experiences to get through. I don't want my grudges to eat at me, so I intentionally extend a bit of grace to those with whom I have been close to for a long period of time. But still I might carry a caution for those who have seemed to me exceptionally rude, hurtful. Perspective and time, trying to step up to the Lord's examples in The Beatitudes--and they are big footsteps--we just might see The Light, forgive and mend fences in more instances than we imagined. B
I broke contact with a friend for legitimate reasons. After years I’ve learned that he is seriously ill and am considering sending a card just to let him know that he’s in my prayers thinking that that would be an easy re-entry without establishing any kind of relationship. G.
It is very difficult for us to really determine with any sense of accuracy whether someone is crossing us off or whether their lives have changed due to circumstances about which we have no knowledge. God only knows circumstances. We can theorize and suspect what is going in, but often we simply do not know unless we ask or investigate what is really going on. M.
Ruth, I was thinking I would address the crosser-off-er side first, then discuss .... I’ve been on the crossed off side...only to discover I frustratingly boxed myself in from both sides. My final take-away on this issue, whether I've crossed someone off or someone has crossed me off is this: I give it three tries before I make a final decision:1) ignore the offense. 2) I politely & inoffensively attempt to address the assumed, presumed, or real behavior. 3) I give up or concede that it is irreparable by myself.
The older I become, the more comfortable and surer I am, of my decision-making-processes. They are not flawless by any stretch. I occasionally mourn a lost cross off whether I did it or it was done to me but I do not dwell on them in a maudlin way, I simply look at it and say to myself, if God wants a repair, He will put things in place to accomplish it. Oswald Chambers wrote, (I’m paraphrasing) Our experiences of loss & disappointment may leave us feeling angry, sad, guilty, and confused. The Lord remains active in our life and we should never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way. God works with rebuke, chastisement, and sorrow. J.
Jesus advised his disciples who were not received kindly to “Shake the dust off your feet and leave that town.” If someone does not want you in their lives, leave.
Disappointment may lurk but not anger. Anger is undoubtedly present in relationship cross-offs. In the Lord’s prayer Jesus said, For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matt. 6:14 (NIV). The Apostle Paul said In your anger do not sin. Eph. 4:26 (NIV). Unkind actions and/or words are sin which need to be confessed. Forgiveness should be our spiritual posture.
Peaceful and satisfying friendships are available to all of us, but each of us has the responsibility and privilege of carefully and lovingly nurturing those relationships and dealing right away with any sensitive or negative area that arises.