2 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)
Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.
One of the most difficult things for most of us to do is to let go of something that has become familiar and comfortable but is no longer serving a useful or beneficial purpose. It’s kind of like an old pair of shoes that have holes in the bottom. You love them because your feet have grown so comfortable in them, but they are no longer serving the purpose for which they were made.
The same thing goes for people and our relationships. Too many of us are in friendships, relationships, or partnerships with other people who are only bringing us down. Maybe at one point or another in the past, they were a really good friend or they were a person we trusted, but the truth is right now at this point in your life and theirs, for whatever reason, they are no longer contributing to the health of the relationship.
Simply because someone has been around for a long time does not mean you are obligated to keep them around forever. Scripture warns us against the dangers of being engaged with people with whom we have nothing good in common or who have decided to take a direction in life that is less than God’s best. Sometimes, we don’t cut people out of our lives because we might feel guilty especially if the person is a family member, or we may just think it is easier to put up with the person instead of dealing with the guilt on our end and perhaps the anger from their end of ending the relationship.
Change is rarely ever easy, but it is almost always necessary. The truth is, conflict often precedes change. No one wants to be in conflict with someone they have grown familiar with. As a believer, it hurts to be in tension with someone else. It feels abnormal and strange; it lingers in our minds until we resolve it one way or another. But many times, we cannot grow unless we change some of the relationships and friendships that are no longer serving God’s purpose in our lives.
There are times when we will need to move away from people who we’ve known for a while but whose behavior or attitude is influencing us negatively. Sometimes God will allow this to happen so that he can get us to the place where we are growing, maturing, and becoming more like Him. Ask God for guidance in your relationships. Be willing to do the tough work of opening the door so some people can exit. Your growth is far more important than a relationship or friendship that’s no longer serving its purpose in your life. When you make those hard calls, you will find grace and strength to get through this time and joy and freedom to move forward in God’s plan for you.
“God is more interested in your future and your relationships than you are.”
— Billy Graham