Broken Relationships or Unmet Expectations?

I dropped a glass on the kitchen floor. What a mess! Little shards threatened to cut my bare feet.

I’ve broken more dishes than I’d like to admit. Very few broke in large enough pieces to glue back together. But, there have been a few worth saving, like my ceramic compost container that sits on the kitchen counter. One week after purchasing it, I dropped the lid on the floor.

Broken Pottery

Repairing the damage

Super strong glue made especially for glass recreated that lid. This gluing together of broken glass is a gentle and precise task. The broken pieces must be properly aligned, the right amount of glue and pressure applied and the glue must dry thoroughly before letting releasing the pressure. Too many times I’ve become impatient and released the pressure only to have the two cracked pieces separated and stuck to each of my hands!

Damaged relationships can also be tricky to repair. Fragments are shattered, cracked, broken. You may be the one who was crushed or maybe your words or actions did the breaking of someone else. It doesn’t really matter who did the harm, nor does it matter if the harm was real or perceived. The reality is two people are now broken.

Acceptance and Expectations

Some relationships are worth reconstructing, even if they seem beyond repair. Others we must accept as connections during specific seasons of our lives. Perhaps this is not a broken relationship. Maybe your expectations of the other person were beyond what they were capable of meeting. If that’s the case, adjust your expectations and accept this person for who they are and what they are capable of investing in you.

Forgiveness or Reconciliation?

If this is a relationship worth repairing, the work may be tedious and exhausting. It’s risky to resolve the issue(s). Fear of rejection threatens and you may question if it merits the energy needed to reconcile. Seek God for wisdom how and when to proceed. He’s in the redemption business.

There is a vast difference between forgiveness and reconciliation: forgiveness only requires one person while reconciliation requires both individuals moving toward one another. The most successful reconciliation/restoration happens when both people share a willingness to align themselves with God and each other, submit to the reconnecting process and commit to staying until the repair sticks. It requires effort on both parts.

Although the compost container was fixable, the cracks are evident and it makes me sad when I look at it. That lid was whole for just a few days before I dropped it. There are a couple of places where tiny shards shattered in too tiny pieces they couldn’t be glued in.

Relationships may also reveal tiny places where once there was hurt or pain, but it doesn’t mean we throw them out. Evaluate each one. Identify those that are redeemable, seasonal or need adjusted expectations. Finally, recognize that we are all imperfect and so will our interactions with one another.

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