“Men are trash!” A common phrase we hear when ladies are hurting from relationships they have been in or from unhealthy encounters with men, that left them in pain. Recently, I was catching up with a friend on how we were doing since our last breakups. We were both hurt in different magnitudes. We were bitter, we mourned, and we made poor decisions, and that was normal.
However, we took time to reflect on how we are handling our pain now vis a vis how we did it then. There was so much rebuke that went on. It later turned into a conversation of how society/culture has wrongfully taught us to deal with matters of the heart. Culture has led us to be selfish, always to view ourselves as the victims and to think highly of ourselves and lowly/bitterly of the men. Culture has taught us to be entitled and cling to anything we have as if we are clinging to dear life. It is this sense of entitlement that we hold to when there is a breakup. We feel we are entitled to that relationship. That we not only deserve it but more so own even the partner. The truth is, breakups are tough, and the emotions that come with them are unspeakable. After a breakup there is so much ignoring of each other, gossiping about your ex, speaking ill of their character coupled up with missing them, battling bitterness and the lonesome feeling, etc.
There is also something beautiful about breakups, they expose the state of our hearts, beyond the lonesomeness, pain and hurt that is quite normal, there is a deeper thing going on in your heart. The question is, how can we deal with breakups in a godly way? We live in a fallen world, but we are not of the world (Joh. 15:19); hence we ought to handle breakups differently. How then can we allow the gospel to speak into those moments of heartache to rebuke, correct, console and to train us in righteousness? (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Emotions can be difficult to understand or handle. Most of us are deeply uncomfortable with negative feelings and assume something is wrong with us whenever we feel sad or mad or bad. We think, if we just had a better perspective, more strength of character, we wouldn’t feel this way, or, at the very least, we’d get over it faster. The Bible teaches that sadness, anger, dismay, and even fear have a good and right place (Eph. 4:26). Take your grief to God. He sympathises with us (Heb. 4:15). Even though he had warned you about getting into the relationship, and you still did, God will not use that against you (Psalm 103:10), He forgives and heals. Take your pain to God, having hope (1 Thess. 4:13) that He will carry you through the pain (Ps. 23:4).
This is probably the last thing we think of. I know, I’ve been there often. Instead of harbouring bitterness (Heb. 4:15), pray about it. Praying isn’t about changing God’s heart but talking to him in the most earnest pains of our hearts and trusting him with them. Christ was a beautiful example of turning to prayer in the most desperate moments (Math. 26:36-39). The Psalmist calls us to pour our hearts before Him (Psalm 62:8). He intercedes for us when we know not what to pray (Rom. 8:26). You can approach Him boldly (Heb. 4:16) and share your heart, knowing He hears and will work healing in your heart. There is a whole book written of prayer in painful emotions, the book of lamentations study it and pray it to God. Jeremiah is heartbroken, and he is grieving, but rightly so in prayer and all honesty, he turns to God (Lamentations 3:19-26).
Do good and pray good for your Ex.
It is not wrong for you to distance yourself from your ex. That does not mean you speak ill of him or expect your friends to have enmity with him. Remember, the guy is an image-bearer of God, though broken image as you are(Gen. 1:27). There is often a temptation to hate and in bitterness expect friends to join in the hatred, as a form of solidarity. There is freedom and peace in forgiveness, dear one, forgive (Eph. 4:31-32, Mark 11:25).
God has called us to love and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). Forgiveness is difficult but pray for grace. It is not the time for vengeance. Pray for them, that they may forgive you too, and that God moulds them into godly men. Do not wish for them ill; do not treat them in an unkind way. Pray for them, with a genuine heart and treat them with kindness. Celebrate their wins; do not be jealous of them, mourn with them when they are mourning, it is only godly to do so.
We often present ourselves as the victims and not the villains. Before we are quick to point all the blame on the other person, think; how could you have hurt him? Is always the girl hurting, or should I say the victim of hurt? Do we for a moment, sit and evaluate how we could have contributed to the pain we are feeling? How could we have hurt the guy? In every hurt or breakup, we are offenders in some sorts. Both parties have been. I mean, we are both fallen men. Why then should we present ourselves as the perfect ones? Is it not godly to confess our sin before we point out other peoples’ sin? (Luke 6:41-42, 1 John 1:8-10)
Surround yourself with godly, healthy friends.
A heartbreak can be overwhelming, and you already feel lonely. However, closing yourself in can be very dangerous. When we are hurt, our judgement and decision-making are impaired. It is possible to make decisions that you will regret later, and then you will have more sins to repent of. God has blessed us with community whom we can be with, confide in and share our burdens with (Ecc 4:10, Gal. 6:2). Do not run to just anyone, run to godly, mature friends who will point you to the truth, those that will stick close than a brother (Prov. 18:24), those that will expose your faults and lead you to repent of them. Gospel friends will point you to the best friend, Christ (John 15:15).
I could have said much on how we can heal from breakups, but one thing remains, the gospel guides us in every way of life. So find rest dear one. Rest in Christ, who carries all our burden (Matt. 11:28). Do not ignore or numb the pain; acknowledge it, face it and take it to the one who heals all pain. Guard your heart(Prov. 24:3) against the temptation of sinning because of your pain. Trust the hand of God to carry you through the breakup. He indeed is a good God.