Why we have to quit “quitting” people

There’s been something just kind of mulling in my heart for a while now, waiting for me to try and put it into words. I was riding down the road with my husband a month or two ago when I reached for my phone and said, “oh I need to send [so-and-so] a text, this is a hard day for her.” He looked over at me from the driver’s seat and said something along the lines of, “oh, I thought you were done with her?” He had a half grin on his face, because although he knew that this same person had hurt my feelings for what felt like the 100th time just a few weeks before, I couldn’t help but think of them and still reach out to let them know they were in my thoughts and prayers.

In the spirit of playing the “devil’s advocate” and full disclosure, I will say that this can be a dangerous cycle if you aren’t careful, because sometimes in toxic relationships, you have to take a step back and guard your heart. But, then there are the times when you have to remember that “hurting people hurt people” and extend grace without ever expecting an apology for how they may have hurt you. And most of the time, when we want to just be “done with her,” we need to remind ourselves that Jesus could have been done with us, but instead He continually forgives, extends grace beyond measure, intercedes on our behalf, and loves us with an unfailing love. See, it’s easy to walk away from a relationship without putting forth the effort to fix what’s broken. It takes real character to work through issues and come out stronger on the other side. When you’re temped to “quit” someone, that’s the choice you have to make.

Have you ever been “quit?”

Maybe it was someone you were close to; someone that you loved like a sibling. Maybe you were the one at fault and you wish you could take back words spoken or a bad attitude that the other person involved just can’t seem to forgive. Maybe you never even knew why it happened, or perhaps there was just a misunderstanding, but nevertheless, you still feel the sting of a broken relationship and the deafening silence from the person you used to be close with. I know, because I’ve been there. I’m there right now.

When we “quit” people – which, if you can’t already tell, I would define as:

giving up on them, dropping them “like a hot potato,” not wanting anything to do with them anymore, cutting ties…

we are basically saying to God that we ourselves are worthy of forgiveness that He’s extended to us for our sins, but we aren’t willing to offer others that same kind of forgiveness and grace.

When you think of it that way, it kind of changes things, doesn’t it? Our Savior is a God of restoration. He makes beauty from ashes, He heals the broken, He makes the crooked places straight.

So, I think there are a few things we can do when we’re tempted to “quit” someone:

  • Pray that Jesus restores a right spirit within us  (Psalm 51:10)
  • Pray that Jesus would help us to truly love one another and keep no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13)
  • Pray that Jesus would help us learn to forgive as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Remember that “hurting people hurt people”
  • Try and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective

And, from the other perspective, I think there are a few things we can do when we’re the ones who have been “quit:”

  • Pray that Jesus would reveal Himself to us and help us see if we are at fault in any way or need to apologize specifically for any wrongdoing
  • Pray that Jesus would help us learn to forgive as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Pray that Jesus would protect us from bitterness
  • Give the person space and time to process

Now, I’m no preacher, psychologist, or relationship expert. All I can do is speak from my heart and share what the Lord has impressed on my spirit. But friends, I just want to encourage you today if you’re in a season where brokenness is a prevailing theme. In the last few years, yes, I’ve experienced the hurt of severed ties and damaged relationships, but I’ve also seen Jesus heal and bring restoration to a relationship that I had often wondered would ever be healthy. He can and He will! When you’ve seen Jesus heal and restore in a way that only He can, it’s powerful and a sobering reminder to extend more grace, be willing to apologize, and go the extra mile to work through the hard things. We’re all a work in progress…

Let’s quit “quitting” people. Let’s love like Jesus has called us to.

 

 

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