Of all the relationships in my life that never truly began, ended too soon, fractured, or broke horrifically, the ones I find myself dwelling on the most are never the romantic ones. Much as Hollywood and countless novels otherwise led me to believe, the shattered or deadened bonds that stick with me to this day are the friendships that grew apart, ended because of misunderstanding, or were forcibly severed.
Sometimes I dream about reconciliation with people I know have no interest in it with me. Some days I catch a sight, a song, a scent, and I’m transported into a state of melancholy so fierce my chest aches. At those times, I tend to forget every reason, good or bad, why the relationship ended; I daydream about ways to get it back.
I cannot help but feel that the yearning for mended relationship is part of us that is made in the image of our God.
Is My Relationship with God Broken Forever?
This burning question sits heavy on the hearts of many, and unfortunately it seems to go unanswered far too many times. The answer is actually quite simple!
No. Not, it is not broken forever—not unless you choose to leave it that way. God is, as they say, a gentleman; He won’t force you to do the hard work and heart work on your side to see a broken relationship mended. But if you’re wondering if He stopped loving you when you made a mistake, when you made a bad choice, when you did something terrible…well, let’s let God’s word speak for itself:
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39
Does God Even Care If Our Relationship is Broken?
This is a pretty valid question, first off, and one that’s not uncommon to ask! If God has some sort of relationship with even half the Christians in the world at any given time, does He really care if my relationship with Him is broken? Am I just a drop in the ocean—or, as the good ol’ band Kutless says, “one in a million faces”?
To this, I would point out that mending the breach between Himself and those He calls His own is kind of what God is all about. When you zoom out and look at the big picture, every move God made, every step he took from the Fall of Man (when His relationship with Adam was severed by Adam and Eve’s actions, bringing about a breach between holy God and now-crafty Man) to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus was all in pursuit of one thing: mending the broken relationship.
We see throughout the thousands of years between Adam and Jesus that God was fiercely protective of His plan to redeem His relationship with mankind, to have a family. Verses throughout Scripture speak of how He planned for a family, a group of people with whom He could be in relationship sans the veil of rules and regulations that separated them from Him.
In 2020, most of us got a taste of what it would be like living on the other side of a barrier from our loved ones. Not a single person spoke up and said “Wow, I’d really like that to be my life for all eternity!” Well, thanks to God’s zeal for a healed relationship with man, we no longer have to experience a barrier between us and Him.
The short answer, then, is YES: God cares very deeply about broken relationship.
The next question is, how do we know He’s interested in mending it with us?
What Evidence Is There That God Wants to Mend Broken Relationships?
A lot of us have had rocky roads in life—paths that have taken us away from God in pursuit of our own interests, goals, or pleasures. Now we may be feeling that tug on our hearts, that emptiness, the void of missing Him; but the question might haunt us, does God want to mend a broken relationship with me? What if I’ve messed up too much? What if the bad I’ve done is too much for Him to ever even want to look at me again?
Let’s take a step back from the overall redemption plan and look at some accounts showing God’s desire to mend relationships on an individual, national, and parabolic level:
1. The Record of King David
King David is well-known for being called “a man after God’s own heart”. David and God were tight…like, super tight! In fact, David was integral to both God’s plan for His people, and to the bloodline that would bring about God’s Son.
Yet David was not without his faults. In the record of 2 Samuel 11, we see David fall pray to the temptation of lust, breaking at least three of God’s Ten Commandments as he covets, commits adultery, and ultimately murders one of his trusted men—all this in pursuit of a woman, and in an effort to hide his indiscretion when their affair resulted in pregnancy.
Phew! That’s a lot to take in! And there was certainly consequence to what David did; the child in this situation passed at a young age, and there was a lot of strife in David’s household following the affair. But this did not stop David being called “a man after God’s own heart”. It did not prevent his throne being established in the Christ-line, either. And perhaps most crucial of all to this topic, when David begged God not to remove His spirit from him (a power that stretched across that breach between man and God, empowering them with His divine, holy might), God heeded that prayer.
So we see God was not looking just to cast David out and forget about him. He committed an atrocious act, yet God allowed justice to be done and still engaged with David in relationship going forward. This was not the end of God’s relationship with David; they mended and moved forward in God’s plan.
2. The Story of Israel
There is perhaps no relationship more broken on a sublevel biblically than that between God and the nation of Israel. Those called His People, the ones He freed from bondage and slavery and led to the Promised Land, didn’t take very long to start striving after idols, worshipping other gods, following the ways of the people they shared borders with. And it’s true that God’s bearing toward Israel saw a major shift; He took away His hand of blessing, allowed the People to be carried off into exile, and, following Jesus’ death and resurrection, began to work with another group of people called the Gentiles. Israel had other words for them—dogs, uncircumcised, friendly stuff like that—and the fact that they were melded onto the branch of Israel, sharing their inheritance in God’s kingdom and the perks of relationship with God, was unprecedented.
And yet! Even as broken as things became between God and Israel, with the prophetic books of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and many parts of the latter Book of Kings overflowing with God’s judgement pronounced a wicked, sinful, perverse nation Israel had become, there was still redemption in the works! Sprinkled throughout these books was God’s promise for how He will one day regather the scattered remnant of Israel and bring them home. This happened in part before the time of Christ, when some of People were allowed to return and rebuild in Jerusalem, but a more complete regathering is yet to come in the glorious future.
From this we see that despite Israel’s many heinous sins—even things as terrible as sacrificing children and prostituting themselves to other gods—their God was and is still working to bring about redemption for that relationship. Though He made them outcast then, He will take back the nation Israel, who was once called His bride.
3. The Prodigal Son/The Lost Sheep
In Luke 15, Jesus tells two parable stories that are both quite significant; one tells of a shepherd who leaves his flock of ninety-nine sheep to rescue the one who fell into a pit, and the other tells of the forgiving father who, when his prodigal son goes off spending his inheritance on wine, women, and high living, then returns broken and humbled, willing to even be a lowly servant, is welcomed back like one of the family.
In both these instances, we see the heart of the shepherd and the father reflecting the heart of OUR Shepherd and Father. God is as interested in the salvation, restoration, and redemption of the one as of the one hundred. There was rejoicing, not mere tolerance, when both the sheep that fell into the pit and the son who fell into a life of revelry were found.
Through this story Jesus told, we see God’s heart revealed; He is not waiting to cast us out into the cold, not waiting for us to scramble out of the pit ourselves. He is actively pursuing our heart, our wellbeing; but he also urges us to make the freewill choice to turn our hearts back to seeking relationship with Him. And when we do, what rejoicing and celebration there is!
I Know God Wants this Relationship Mended—Now What?
Knowing where to start is hard. After all, if mending relationships was a walk in the park, we would see so many broken in our own lives and the world around us, would we?
But thankfully, there is an easy first step to take when it comes to mending things with a just and righteous God. 1 John 1:9 tells us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So let’s start there. Pray a prayer of confession and repentance.
- Ask God for forgiveness for any actions you’ve taken, any thoughts you’ve harbored, any choices you’ve made that have put a breach between you and Him.
- Ask him to cleanse your heart, purify your mind, and make your paths straight.
- Ask Him to break every chain and bond that his holding you down, tying you to your past, and preventing you from embracing the future He has in store for you.
- Invite Jesus to once again be Lord in your life—even if you’ve done so before, making that vow of servitude to him and confessing him as Lord again is so powerful! Surrender your steps to his leading and renew your vows to follow him as Lord and Master.
Once you’ve prayed, repented, and surrendered your footsteps to the leading of God and Jesus, it’s time to take some action steps!
- Start getting your head in the Word! It’s often super helpful to start with the Psalms or the Gospels. Find a devotional or a reading plan that focuses on God’s love. Really immerse yourself in it, and as your confidence in your reawakening relationship strengthens, ask Him to show you what specific lessons He’d like to teach you. Follow where He leads—this journey will be as unique as your relationship with God itself!
- Pray, pray, pray. Pray out loud, pray like it’s a conversation, pray in the spirit, pray in tongues. It can be awkward at first, it can feel like there’s still something in the way. That’s okay! Persevere. If you feel that barrier rising and the doubts coming between you and God again, cast them out in the name of Jesus! Come against any spiritual intimidation or divisive presence that might be trying to keep you from God. Declare over yourself Romans 8:38-39 until that barrier breaks down and you find relief again.
- Watch what you’re taking in! When you try to take a new path, or a road back to God, the things that first pulled you away will always try to pull you back into old habits. If there are certain negative influences that tempt your eyes away from God, surrender those as well and ask Him to help you keep healthy boundaries and a clear, sound mind.
- Don’t be alone. Find a good virtual group, home fellowship, or church you can plug into. Being surrounded by God’s love not just individually, but corporately, can help bolster your trust in Him and keep your feet on the path you’ve decided to take back toward wholeness and experiencing relationship with God again.
These are just a few steps to take as you do your part to mend your relationship with God. But know that as hard as you are fighting for this, He is fighting for you, too. As we’ve seen, God is a God of second chances and mended relationships. He is not looking for an excuse to cast you aside, and you are not just one in a sea of faces He could give or take. His love is with you, His grace is upon you, His spirit is within you.
He wants that relationship. He wants it mended even more than you do! And what great rejoicing there is when you take those strides and make that choice to begin mending it. The angels in heaven are rejoicing at your homecoming. God is rejoicing at your homecoming. And so is the family of God, the Body of Christ!