Ugly Friendships

Pamela Trunk

“I’m going to visit Ms. Rowe this weekend. Want to come?” my friend asked. No way! I thought to myself. You will never catch me at that school again.

Hurt Feelings

While I was in high school, I might have considered my school years the best of my life. Now I look back with embarrassment. My high school friends, my clique, were gossips and liars. We hurt people by excluding them so that we would be more popular.

dv1644029Walking the halls of my high school again would only summon a sick feeling deep in my stomach. My history classroom would evoke the painful memory of purposely excluding a good friend from a group project because I felt she wouldn’t fit in with my crowd. At my locker, the center of social interaction, I passed out invitations to parties; of course, only certain people of a certain kind were invited. The lunchroom was the hub of gossip and scandal, the best place for me to participate in rumors, ugly words, and lies that destroyed the self-esteem of many people.

In Christ, Forgiveness

During my freshmen year of college, I started hanging out with a group of Christians, attending church, and studying the Bible. Soon I realized that my previous actions had displeased God. As I put my trust in Christ, I grew to understand that God had forgiven me for my sins, including my actions in high school. Still, I wanted to seek forgiveness from the people I had wronged.

My friends at Bible study encouraged me to seek reconciliation, so I began looking for classmates I had hurt. I sent emails, made phone calls, and chatted online. Some of them were surprised to hear from me and needed reassurance that this was not a cruel joke. Others thanked me for my apology. I was humbled by their forgiveness after all the pain I had caused them.

In a final attempt to make things right, I called the girls who had been in my high school clique and explained how much I regretted my actions. A few of my old friends admitted that they too felt remorse for what they had done, and I was able to talk with them about Christ’s forgiveness.

Moving On

Feeiling Guilty FTR TSP 181488954 copyI still have no desire to return to my high school, not even to say hello to my favorite teachers. I know God sees me free of past sins, but I still see the scars. I am thankful for the forgiveness I have received from God and others, yet I know that many of my classmates suffered because of my actions. High school may continue to be a painful memory, but I am grateful for the lessons it taught me. I look forward to growing closer to God as I contend with my high school memories.



Read Colossians 3:12–15. What grievances or grudges do you hold? When have you sinned against a friend? What words of apology or forgiveness would lead to reconciliation? How can you and your friends pursue the virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love?

Friendships cause hurt when they are exclusive, but friendships founded on love are beautiful. Decide to make your friendships pleasing to God.

Pamela Trunk is from Gainesville, Florida.

—from devozine (November/December 2008). Copyright © 2008 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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