Grace is something that is often discussed in Christian circles of friends, co-workers and family members. When we actually live it out, though, it tends to be much more difficult to practice.
Forgiveness and showing people grace are counter-cultural ideas. They are radical positions to take—and they are not easy to do. It is not easy because “working on a relationship” is just that—work. It takes time, effort and the ability to be willing to listen. As the world tells us to get away from relationships and friendships that are temporarily difficult, Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, give the coat off our back and help those in need. This can also mean spiritual need, rather than only a need for material objects. People need people—and they need those who will be beside them whenever they have times of struggle.
When going through these periods, we can react in a negative way with one another. This can lead to unstable relationships.
In my own life, the friends who stuck by me when I was impatient or stressed are the ones I know I can turn to whenever something comes up now. They have seen me at my worst, and they will be honest with me about how I can be my best in the midst of trial.
This is not to say that we should stay in a relationship that is unhealthy or abusive—those situations must be analyzed and dealt with on an individual basis. But when we struggle to find common ground with a friend, it can ultimately enrich our lives and our connection with them to seek reconciliation, no matter how long it may take.
It is more popular and practiced move on without certain people in our lives if we find them to be wearing us down. Sometimes this is necessary—and sometimes it is just for a season. We have to be careful and conscious about where we give our energy.
But we should also check ourselves and our motives before we do this. Are we simply cutting them out because it is easier for us not to engage, and not to help them through the struggles they are in? If so, then we should do our best to see them through the season.
We will certainly have times of our own when we need people to stay beside us, to not abandon us, and to believe in what we can be.