I’ve sat in women conferences where the speaker says, “we need to be there for each other, honor each other…we are sisters, and we need to act like it!” Crowd cheers, cut to me thinking, “huh? I don’t have time for everyone to be my sister.” I grew up being told my sisters were my best friends, so for me a sister = friend.
It’s hard being friends with someone who is self-focused, hurting, and immature. It’s hard being friends with someone who gossips, solely talks about their issues, and is over-bearing.
How do I love a woman who is toxic and manipulative?
How do I honor women who have betrayed me?
How can I be “sisters” with a woman who rejected me?
The Bible doesn’t give examples of women who had several female friends or community. You see women having a female friend, but the Word doesn’t say, “and then Ruth had a slumber party for every woman, and you should too have a party for females, thou says the Lord.” The Bible does however provide solid guidance for tools we can sharpen so people can be better friends – to everyone. Whether you believe in the Bible or not, I don’t think any Biblical characteristics of what a friend looks like would be argued as undesirable or unhealthy.
Women who champion for other women is powerful. Comparison, jealously, and judging are great temptations and subconsciously happen when the heart and mind aren’t clean. Having overcome so many of those tendencies over the years, especially this year, I’ve grown to have a sensitive antenna for these areas. I’m passionate towards helping women overcome destructive, deteriorating thought patterns that can lead to beliefs.
So, how do we respect and honor EVERY woman, INCLUDING the toxic ones?
How do we as women love EVERY woman as a “Sister in Christ?”
What does, “I love them from afar” even mean?
I believe respect and honor looks like not speaking poorly about each other. Period.
Your tongue can be your most deathly weapon or strongest armor. Words will sew threads in the fabric creating a coat of protection, or tear strands apart. Words of truth delivered with gentleness and respect creates room for gain. Words motivated by selfishness or anger creates a divide before a foundation is formed.
I have my inner circle women, the ones who I can be whole-heartedly candid with. There is a time and a place to have the freedom to share your heart – and for me, that freedom is there with my core women.
If I’m in a conflict with someone and speaking to a close friend, 80% of the time I choose to not disclose the name of the person I’m in conflict with. This is honoring and respectful to the person I’m in conflict with. If I share the name of the person, it’s because whoever I’m speaking to knows and advocates for the heart of the person, and can give me perspective I may be blind to.
Let’s be real. If I shared the name of a woman I’m frustrated with to a friend who doesn’t know their heart, what am I inviting? I’m inviting my friend to form an opinion of someone based on my biased, current situation. I’m ultimately inviting division. If my friend finds herself at a party with the woman I vented to her about, my friend is more likely to look for the negative things I mentioned, rather than for the gold – which I believe everyone has. Loving from afar can look like not saying their name behind their back for the sake of preserving their name, not tarnishing it.
I’ve gone through traumatic pain with female friends. Betrayed, rejected, lied to. I’ve had friends know the deepest parts of my heart and exploit my information for their benefit. I’ve had friends say they’re busy with their parents or working late, but then foolishly post themselves at another dinner with mutual friends. I’ve had friends steal money, ghost me, and tell me I’m not a priority because I haven’t been friends with them as long as their other friends.
In these wounding situations I decided not to share the names of those who hurt me with women who didn’t know them, and trust God to heal me, and heal them. Because, in reality, anyone who betrays, rejects or lies needs deep inner healing. Most of the time bad friends are bad friends because they aren’t in a place to offer good friendship and are in their own personal storm.
I needed healing too. I allowed actions from another person to have power in how I viewed myself. I gave women power in my self-worth, confidence, and ability to trust other women because they treated me poorly. Was my pain justified? Yes. Am I still triggered from time to yes? Yas. Is there another side of the story with a different perspective I may be unaware of? Totally, there always is. Their actions though weren’t because of what I did or didn’t do, it was a matter of their heart. My heart’s response from their actions in how I went on a tail-spin is a matter of my heart, and I had to painfully face that. Victim cards can only be played for so long before another hand is dealt.
The temptation to share names of people who rejected us is huge. I remember sharing with a close friend about my pain from a woman, and for months my friend only knew of this woman as, “that girl.” Months later my friend mentioned she was going to an intimate gathering, and I knew that girl would be there.
I entered into panic mode:
“She’s going to come back being best friends with her”
“I need to tell her that girl’s name so she knows”
“God, why do you tease me. Why would these women be in the same room. Wow. Can you protect me from pain for ONE moment!?”
Thankfully I didn’t vocalize these thoughts, and slept on it before making any sort of action, which was ultimately silence.
I chose silence.
I didn’t tell my friend that girl, the girl who I had been deeply wounded from would be at this event. I wanted God to move how He wanted to, and if He wanted those two women to form a friendship, I would have to trust that His perspective is bigger than mine.
My friend came back from the event sharing the names of those she connected with, and that girl’s name was not mentioned.
Of course my flesh was screaming, “YAAAAAS thank you Je-SUUUUS,” but then I was thankful and relieved for choosing silence, because my silence was honoring, and my conscience was clear. I didn’t get in the way of anyone’s agenda. If I had disclosed a name and warned my friend, it would tarnish the name of this woman. For me, this is what “loving from afar” looked like. I didn’t have to see or speak to that girl, but I chose not to speak poorly, which is honoring.
How do we genuinely love the “difficult” women in our hearts?
Ask God to give you eyes to see them how He sees them.
Think of the woman who’s your that girl for you, or a woman who annoys you because in your eyes she is “fake” and someone you would be happy never to see on Instagram ever again.
I challenge you to ask God to give you eyes to see her how He sees her. Moreover, ask God how you can pray for her heart.
See how He meets you. More often than not, He’ll churn your heart in a way you never thought possible. When He gives you eyes for someone as He sees them, slowly but surely the person will occupy your mind less. He’ll calm any heart turbulence with peace surpassing your understanding. He’ll deposit wisdom and discernment.
Choose friends who bring out the best in you, who you see the gold in, and who see the gold in you. Not everyone will be your friend. In fact, it’s foolish to consider everyone a friend.
Verses I like to call “spiritual spankings” in this area are:
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.”
Proverbs 12: 26:
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
1 Corinthians 15:33:
“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Choosing to stay away from women who are hot-tempered, easily angered, poor influencers or unreliable is wise. For women who you don’t want to prioritize spending time with, whether it be for a healthy or practical reason, honor and love her by not gossiping. If you don’t feel love for her in your heart, ask God to see her how He does.
Championing for the heart of a woman who we were hurt from or annoyed by looks like not gossiping and seeking to see her how God sees her.