Updated: Oct 7, 2021
When we think of failed expectations in relationships we often consider familial or romantic interactions, not giving much thought to the significance of friendships. Yet, the reality is that being let down by a close friend can be just as impactful as from a relative or spouse. We see this vividly in the life of Jesus.
In Matthew 26:36-46 Jesus was preparing for the cross and the events leading up to it. He took Peter, John, and James with him to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, he confided in and sought comfort from his friends. In return they slept. Scripture doesn't mention them praying or offering comforting words. It doesn't include any hugs exchanged or questions asked to better understand Jesus' feelings. the Bible says they slept and continued to sleep. Can you imagine- needing your friends; longing for their support and they fall asleep? Though Jesus never mentions being disappointed by these three, his responses then inadvertently teaches us how to deal with disappointment from friends today.
1. Admit Your True Feelings
38| Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Sometimes the natural reaction to disappointment from friends is to pretend as though feelings aren’t hurt. We’ll say things like “it doesn’t matter” or “I’m good” to assuage hurt feelings. Jesus didn’t do this. He was honest in his feelings. Though Jesus said these words before Peter, John, and James fell asleep, He was already aware of the forthcoming betrayals.
2. Share Those Feelings With Those Friends
40| Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.
After experiencing disappointment or betrayal by friends, it may seem beneficial to take our concerns to unbiased friends; friends who are separate or removed from a situation. However, it’s important that we take our issues to the people we have an issue with. Jesus didn’t go grab other disciples to talk about Peter, John, and James. He shared his feelings with those who were involved.
42| He went away a second time and prayed “My Father if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
In an effort to avoid contact with those who have hurt us, it can be tempting to throw ourselves into work, school, or other activities to free our minds of pain. Jesus reminds us to take our concerns and worries to God in prayer. We see him seek comfort and solace in prayer. Three times he prayed about his troubles.
4. Don’t Let Their Actions Negatively Impact Your Decisions
45| Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.
When we’ve been hurt, we often expect those who’ve hurt us to respond as we would. We want them to apologize the way we would or accept responsibility in a similar manner. Yet the fact is, whether our friends acknowledge the hurt they’ve caused or not, we shouldn’t let it deter us from making wise decisions. When we’re hurt, it’s easy to make rash decisions that we later regret. Jesus didn’t let the actions of James, John, and Peter divert or detract from His ultimate purpose.
In these few verses, we discover a simple method to dealing with disappointment from friends- admit, share, pray, and persevere. So if you’re dealing with a situation in which you feel betrayed or let down by friends- know that Jesus understands, cares, and can definitely relate