WHEN IT'S TIME TO WALK AWAY FROM A FRIEND
Sometimes we have to leave behind things that aren’t good for us. And sometimes what’s not good for us is a person we thought was a friend.
For many years I believed that letting go of friendship was wrong. I didn’t want the other person to feel abandoned and I definitely didn’t want anyone saying mean things about me, which would surely happen if I walked away. I mean, what kind of person turns their back on another – isn’t that just plain rude? Yet as I’ve gotten older, I realize that sometimes space is necessary. There is a difference between distancing yourself and suddenly going MIA.
This concept was first introduced to me by Pastor Gary Wilderbuer when I was in college. He explained to me that a person very close to him turned away from his faith and became very hateful. Gary began to limit contact with this man and for years barely spoke to him. I’m not sure if this relationship was ever restored, but sometimes restoration is not possible.
Successful leaders will tell you that they had to leave behind some negative people in order to flourish. Even the Bible tells us that sometimes people’s hearts are so hard that we have to give them space (1 Corinthians 5). We can’t make people change. We can’t force them to become less selfish – they have to decide for themselves. So when a person’s actions are all about themselves, it may be time to let them go. We must do this in a loving way, never complaining about the other person or calling them names. We simply have less and less contact, and let God work out the rest. When we do spend time with them, we must still be loving.
Recently God showed me a person in my life who is not good for me and my family. I’m struggling, because for me, letting go is very difficult. I hate to see my friends making mistakes, acting selfishly and hurting others for the sake of themselves. I want to help them, but most of the time these types of people don’t help. While it hurts to see someone we care about making mistakes, we have to let them go their way.
From my limited experience, when you put your time and effort into relationships that really matter, it always turns out fine in the end.
©Jen Cudmore, 2013
Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge in a tiny cabin built by her father. Her family attended a little Baptist church where her mother played piano and father led the music program. She left the Gorge area to attend Northwest University, where she graduated with the first group of students to earn a bachelor’s of psychology. Newly married with a baby on the way, she decided to put off graduate school to devote her time to learning how to be a better wife and mother. After her husband received a job offer, they relocated to Alaska, where they currently reside with their two children (and two boxers). She works part-time for a large orthopedic clinic and serves in both the AWANA program and bus ministry at her church. She's a member of the Christian Writers Guild as well as the local Alaska Writers Guild,
where she served for 4 years on the conference committee.
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