When People Let You Down

When People Let You Down

September 2, 2010

“Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8 (NASB)

Disappointment feels like a heavy rock sinking to the bottom of my spirit. I’ve felt disappointed in many situations – a business opportunity that didn’t pan out, a writing door that didn’t open, and a relationship that broke my young heart.

The heaviest disappointments for me, however, stem from people. And not just any people; people who I’m closest to. People who turn out to be not at all what I hoped they’d be, or not who I thought they were.

I know I’m not alone in wondering how to deal with people who let me down. Just this week a friend said with a choke in her voice, “I wish my mom and I could be closer, but I don’t think we ever will be.” Another woman said with despondency, “My husband and I just don’t talk.” I’ve heard the edge of bitterness in women’s voices as they vow never to trust again because of a friend’s betrayal. And most of us have swallowed the hopelessness that comes with a broken heart, “I thought he was the one.”

I’ve tried different ways to handle disappointments in relationships. One way is to ignore the disappointment, to shut it in a box and hope the lid holds. Another way is to gloss over it with a quick statement such as, “People will let you down, but God never will.” True, but does this really help me process the hurt?

One morning in my quiet time I was pouring out my sadness, anger and disappointment about a close relationship. As the tears slipped down my face, I begged God to show up. What do I do with all this? Show me and I’ll do it because what I’ve been doing is not working.

Clear as a bell ringing in my spirit, Jesus said, Grieve.

Really? I questioned. I remembered that Jesus knew all about disappointment – Peter’s denial, Judas’ betrayal, and the disciples falling asleep during His anguish before His crucifixion (Matthew 26). I remembered people in the Bible who were well acquainted with people they loved letting them down, such as Joseph or Job. I felt reassured that Jesus wouldn’t misunderstand my sadness as a lack of faith.

So I cried, feeling every ounce of the disappointment. I told God all the things I wish were different about this relationship, all the things I thought this person had done wrong, and what I wish this person would do differently.

After the winds of grief subsided, I was done. Grieving was the bridge I had to cross to move beyond the disappointment. On the other side I found myself in a place where I could embrace the relationship for what it is, not what it’s not.

On the other side of grief lies a place where we can consider how to respond to the person who disappointed us. There are a number of possible responses. Sometimes we need to talk to the person or get godly counsel. Other times we may need to create healthy boundaries, or we may need just to let it go. Only after we’ve allowed ourselves to grieve, however, will we know how to respond to this person in the way that God wants. Then the words, “People will let you down, but God never will,” will be truly comforting, not just empty words.

Dear Lord, I’m so thankful that when it feels like no one else understands, You do. You understand about being disappointed in people but You loved them in the midst of that. Lord, I want to follow Your example. I’m thankful You know this sadness is a part of healing from the pain of disappointment. Give me guidance in handling this -I trust that You can bring good out of this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Melanie’s blog What Matters Most

Struggling with disappointment in your marriage? Consider Melanie’s books What a Husband Needs from His Wifeand What a Wife Needs from Her Husband

The Friends We Keep: A Woman’s Quest for the Soul of Friendship by Sarah Zacharias Davis

Share in God’s grace with our free resource, Just a Little Heart Cleaning

Application Steps:
Be honest with yourself as you consider someone who has let you down. Have you grieved over the disappointment? Take time to be alone, to be sad, and to cry if you need to. Let go of bitterness, anger, hurt and unforgiveness. Then ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment about what to do next in this relationship.

Have I unsuccessfully tried to deny that I am hurt or angry by this disappointing relationship?

Is it possible that I’ve depended on this person more than God?

How does God what to use this disappointment in my life?

Power Verses:
Psalm 42:11, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (NIV)

Psalm 94:19b “When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.” (MES)

Lamentations 3:23, “…Great is your faithfulness.” (NAS)

© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

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  1. Chris Plassman says:

    This is a great post with much truth. But, restoration comes in God’s Time. And healing only, only, only comes when there is restoration. Healing for Christ came only after His Resurrection. Likewise it came to Job when Abba Granted it. I don’t believe it is helpful to presume that all this rests on our acceptance alone. Such a mindset displaces God from being God. Certainly if we have caused our own trouble then we can repent but I don’t see Scriptural support for the idea that we always have the power suggested by the conclusion made here. And such a conclusion is damaging to the individual and to The Body of Christ I think.

  2. I realize your comment was made a year ago, Chris…I believe your comment implies the person who is hurting was in this position because they were separated from God? That they need to be restored to God before healing from the pain they’ve experienced? If that is your inference, and I may be misunderstanding, there is no biblical support that hurt is only experienced when one is in a state of separation from God. Yes, straying from God leads to poor decisions and self made hurt. But Christians in a state of faithfulness experience the hurt of being let down every day. It isn’t always self inflicted because they’ve removed themselves from God’s grace. Job, Moses, Daniel, Mary…the list goes on. All disappointed and let down while faithful to God. I believe this article makes sense. Our grief is a gift o embrace and experience, to move us towards healing. This happens often to people who have no need of restoration, as they have never strayed from God.

  3. I just don’t understand why I allow someone to keep disappointing Me all the time and I keep for giving first thing they do is turn it back on you and make u if like u the bad person, it same like I’m always free with my Heart. But I’m I always lose. Them I’m back sad. Nobody understand but God how I feel Im so tired of being use by man.

  4. Gods spirit was in this post. His love is powerful to heal, provide rest and truth when we are feeling low.
    It’s been about 6 weeks since a friend really hurt me. I responded to her betrayal in anger, I immediately regretted my words and apologized to her before I had time to process what happened. There’s been no peace or reconciliation between us. Now, after reading this, I needed to repent, grieve, heal and allow God to restore me.
    Whether he restores my friendship or not, He’s given me wisdom and peace about specifc areas in my relationship with others. He’s changing my heart.
    I grieved today and feel 100 pounds lighter. I repentend and God gave me scriptures of truth to read from Romans 2 and Psalm 94.
    I feel vindicated, and understood. God is near to the broken hearted and He is always willing to heal those that come to him. Thank you.

  5. Thank you! This is a powerful message.

  6. What if it is your pastor & his family & several congregants(not all). We left our church 3 years ago. The grieving process is basically over, but memories sometimes still hold pain. We are Very cautious & a bit mistrustful to visit other churches. There can be a lot of wolves & lions among the sheep.

  7. sharetta says:

    WoW! Talk about timing. I’m currently hurting from a relationship that just ended unexpectedly. When I get before God I have no words when trying to pray and all I can do is cry, cry like a little girl who don’t understand the feeling but knows that it HURTS and it is a real feeling to feel. Sometimes I cry for 5 hours, and this has been going for now 3 weeks. I can honestly say I feel like a little girl crying on Gods shoulder wanting to just escape from this pain. Most of my days after work or a workout I take Epsom Salt baths to help release stress and emotions and I just sit there and pour out everything that comes up… when I let the water drain out of tub I look at it as (I have released this issue to God as it goes down the drain and Amen) at the same time understanding that healing and being disappointed by people is a process to getting over it. So I cry until I can’t any more. It’s like trying to get the last bit of tooth paste out of the tube. I want to cry allllll of it out so I can be whole again… Thank you for sharing this. It spoke to my heart and I will take this with me….

  8. What about when God let’s you down. Because he will. I’m so tired of the lie that he will never let you down. I also hate that song king of my heart. He’s never gonna let never gonna let me down. BS

  9. This article was so very helpful. Thank you for posting this. Answers that come from prayer are always so full of Christ’s Grace. Blessings on you and your family.

  10. Thank you for sharing my mother passed away when i was very young.i was dissapointed by people i love and trusted,my father rejected me after somany years of searching for him but when i founded him he hated and his wife mistreaded me i ended up being raised by sister i love her and trusted her but what broke my heart is dat when God blessed me i was also good to her instead she and her husband took everything for business which i worked hard for and they chased me out.they were only family i had. i stil love her,i pray for her more than i pray for my self but i am dissapointed,hurted and lonely.i dont hate her and i dont hate my father.question is how do i love and be family with people who dont give a damn about you.may the mind which was in Christ be in us in Jesus amen


  1. […] inspirational as well) The devotion I read was from back in 2010, by Melanie Chitwood, and entitled When People Let You Down.   What really touched me about this devotion wasn’t just God’s words of comfort, but the […]

  2. […] one time or another, we’ve all been unjustly accused, betrayed, abandoned, blamed, rejected, or used. Sometimes the pain seems unbearable. The world seems unjust. […]

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