Shame RX: Failed relationships don’t mean you’re a failure.

1 Corinthians 16:14

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

The line has been drawn in the sand. And to add to the separation there is gossip or slander—words spoken like daggers to your heart that make you feel so inferior.

The familiar ache in our heart condemns us. We could have done something. Should have done more.

But could we have? And should we have? When relationships become toxic (or maybe always were) and come to an end, we can bear a lot of shame. 

Sometimes expectations run amok or personalities just don’t jibe. Or maybe the position you hold or they hold makes relating difficult. Even past hurts can affect one’s ability to relate to others.

Relationships end for a lot of reasons and our brains can obsessively think on the cause. But taking those thoughts captive and examining them biblically, we understand that there are spiritual dynamics at play that are the real culprit.

Sometimes people are in our lives just for a season. Sometimes for a lifetime. Whether the other person ended the relationship or you did, it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that the relationship ended and there are likely ill feelings being communicated passively or directly.

It’s ok to lament the loss. It is legitimate. And there might be things we need to own in the failed relationship. But that doesn’t mean we need to live with shame when a relationship ends or beat ourselves up.

When we look at the truth of the situation in humility, we can also give ourselves and even them grace. God is able to heal our hurt as we remove ourselves from the equation and ask for wisdom to see them and the relationship through a biblical lens rather than from a fleshly point-of-view.

Rather than believing the lie that we weren’t enough or have a defect, maybe we can understand that they just weren’t meant to do life with us. Wrong tribe. And maybe we can let go of bitterness and wish them well, too . . . all for the glory of God.


Need to get rid of shame in your life? Join the Shame Off You Bible Study Mondays at 7pm ET.

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