This poem is very dear to me. It’s from a couple years back when I felt betrayed and undervalued by a very close friend or two. Although the emotions are far from happy ones, the story doesn’t end there. However, I’ll continue after the poem.
IF HE HOLLERS
What makes someone a ‘bro’?
Is it that they’ll never go?
Or maybe they’ll never grow,
Or just never know
How much to me they mean.
Even when venom they scream
I have never killed their dreams.
Am I so unseen?
Hardly do they realize
I can see through their disguise.
My true self they do despise,
Or so I surmise.
Distortions flaunted at my feet;
My opinions take backseat,
Pearls crushed into the street.
Humble pie to eat.
They say I cancel all the time
As if latency is a crime
Or that with them I rarely dine.
No, I am not fine.
There must have been some mistake.
Yes, wrong choices do I make,
But ne’er would I my friends forsake.
And somehow I’m fake.
They’ll use hate to justify
Why I’m such an evil guy,
As if all my sweet gestures died.
‘History’ can only delay
The need to confront decay.
I wish there was another way,
But I cannot stay.
Tossed aside like common trash,
Companionship gone in a flash,
A best friend turned into ash.
Away I will dash.
If only there was some reprieve
From the reasons that I grieve.
I wear my heart upon my sleeve.
For now I must leave.
Their souls becoming ever-black,
Spiritually running off the tracks.
As if one man could pick up their slack.
There’s no turning back.
Friendship’s all I ever sought,
Control’s all they ever brought.
Their spite I would not have thought.
My bro they are not.
By penning these lines, I was able to process things more clearly. In time, I addressed the issues in person, and we’re thick as thieves now. Credit for that restoration lies in my Savior, for I only forgive as He first forgave me (Ephesians 4:32). In life, we all have pivotal points where relationships seem to rest on the finer edge of a blade, balanced ever-so precariously. Whether it be a close friend, a significant other, a relative, etc., there are choices to be made that will determine (perhaps permanently) the nature of that relationship.
Do I let them live unaware of their actions, or do I confront them? Do I accuse them or try to see things from their perspective? Am I going to reflect on what I need to own up to, or am I going to narrow the scope to their faults and theirs alone? Do I cut them out of my life, or do I stand by them in their imperfection? Do I resent them, or forgive them? Should I forgive them again? I’m sure the list could continue.
The last question is addressed by the Bible, where Jesus says in Matthew 18:22 to forgive someone 490 times, or “70 times 7.” This number is not meant to be literal, it’s meant to imply that forgiveness is ongoing and everlasting with Jesus, so it should be with us. I prayed a lot through this trial of close friendships, and I sensed that these friends were still in my life for a reason; many times people of faith are called to be the lights in the darkness. However, the Lord is not above calling you away from toxic relationships, especially those distracting you from Him, so be sure to clue Him in frequently in your decision process.
Whenever I reflect on our choice to continue being friends, I can’t help but smile, it has been one of the better decisions I’ve made in life (though that’s not saying much)! It doesn’t always work out so well, but if you do your share of prayer, effort, mending, and forgiveness, you can rest easy regardless of the outcome. Who knows, maybe this oddly specific advice will benefit you someday. Thanks for reading, Lord bless!
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.