My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. (1 John 4:10 MSG)
"Damage" in relationships is hard stuff to deal with, usually because someone has to 'give in', 'give up', or 'give out'. That takes sacrifice and a whole lot of work. The clearing away of the damage is incremental in those human relationships that have gone awry, isn't it? We might have an all out sit down and hash it out session, but even when we 'clear the air' between us, there is something that still lingers in the sense of needing to rebuild trust. The air might be cleared, the slate wiped clean between us, but there is some expected action we each want to see evidence of before we totally trust the other individual again.
Do you know what 'damage' really is? It is anything that diminishes the value of the object. In the case of our relationship with God, sin diminished the connection, but the extreme value God places on each of our lives is never diminished. In fact, he sees us as of the 'highest worth' or 'value'. In our relationships with each other, we are actually diminishing the value the other individual has in our lives when we allow these fractures to come within them. We declare them to no longer serve a 'use' for us and we pull away from them as a result.
Stop for a moment to consider your most 'damaged' relationship on this earth again. If we say that particular person has 'no usefulness' in our lives any longer, we are probably wrong. Why? Even the most damaged relationships can prove 'useful' when we allow them to drive us to our knees and to for a searching of our hearts and minds to occur. Even the most 'damaged' of relationships can still have value - we just need to realize that extreme value. In some of my most 'damaged' relationships I have learned much about prayer and a whole lot about forgiveness. I have learned to sacrifice even when I didn't think the other person would ever know about that sacrifice. The opening of one's self up to the possibilities of finding the 'good' in the midst of the 'damage' might just change how we begin to see the other individual. Just sayin!