By Pastor Dudley Rutherford, Author of "God Has an App for That"
Relationships are the building blocks of humanity. They can elicit overwhelming joy,
such as the special bond between parent and child or the enduring love between a
husband and wife. However, the breakdown of relationships—seen across the ages and
across the world—can cause unbearable devastation. Couples divorce, family members
become estranged, siblings fight, and longtime friendships dissolve bitterly.
Yet, God has created within every man and woman the desire to form lasting, loving,
and meaningful relationships with those around them. So, in order to nurture healthy
relationships in the future, how does one obtain healing for a heart that has been broken
by hurts from the past? The answer is found in the book of James, which has been
called the most practical book of the Bible.
If you were to imagine that the book of James were a smartphone app, there would be
four important steps to downloading God’s app to restore a broken heart:
1. Surrender to the proper authority. God is the Creator of the universe. The Bible
says He heals, restores, and gives life—even to relationships that seem dead
and hopeless. The devil, on the other hand, aims to kill, steal, and destroy (John
10:10). In every decision you make, you are either submitting to God or to the devil.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee
from you.” How do you submit to God? By obeying His word, the Bible. Make a
commitment to read the Bible every single day, even if it’s just one chapter. Pray and
ask God to help you to obey Him.
2. Confess and let go. James 4:8 says, “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify
your hearts, you double-minded.” Take an honest assessment of your heart and
what role you may have had in the demise of a certain relationship. First John 1:8-
9 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify
us from all unrighteousness.” When you confess your sin to God and ask Him for
forgiveness, you are able to forgive others and let go of resentment and bitterness
you may be harboring within your heart.
3. Don’t slander. Whenever we are hurt, it is very tempting to complain to anyone who
will listen about the person we feel has wronged us. James 4:11 admonishes us
not to engage in this kind of slanderous speech. Jesus Christ suffered the cruelest
injustice in all of history—His undeserved death on a Roman cross—but He did
not protest or slander His accusers. Instead, He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke
23:34). Let us follow Jesus’ humble example.
4. Give grace instead of judgment. When others fall short of your expectations, choose
to show them grace, which is defined as mercy, favor, and pardon. Jesus showed
you and I grace rather than judgment when He died to pay the penalty for our sins.
He says in Matthew 7:1-2: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same
way you judge others, you will be judged, and with measure you use, it will be
measured to you.” Trust the Lord to examine the heart and motives of those who
may have hurt you, and leave all judgment to Him. You will find that letting go of this
responsibility is tremendously liberating, and it will allow God to fully heal and restore