“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Before I had even finished publishing the little devotional the Lord had laid on my heart called, “Stepping Back from Loved Ones,” His Spirit moved upon my heart compelling me to write this one. Why? I knew immediately. Just as much as the Lord might lead us to step back from a loved one for His purpose for His glory in His love, He might also lead us to stick around with loved ones from whom we might want nothing more to do than to run. Why would we want to walk away, or run away, from a loved one? Why would God want us to stick around? Most importantly, what should we do when we desperately want to end a relationship, break off ties, disappear, step back from, and even run away from a loved one?
Some relationships with loved ones are hard. Trying. Frustrating. Painful. Gut-wrenching. Demanding. Time-consuming. Hurtful. Etc. Our loved ones may be struggling with homelessness, addictions, sickness, disability, grief, depression. They may be mean, unkind, unloving, uncaring. They may be neglectful. They may not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They may be doing stuff that scares us. They may be selfish. They may not love us like we want. Let us down. Be boring. Not be smart. Prideful. Different. Embarrassing. Unpopular. Etc. For whatever reason, we might not want to stick around. Sometimes these people are exactly the ones God wants us to love, care for, show compassion to, be kind to, help, comfort, support, encourage, pray for, bless, help lead to Him, teach the Bible to, minister to, serve, go to extreme lengths for, demonstrate the love of Christ to, not give up on, etc. And maybe He’s using these people to change us, to make us more like Him. Why would He want us to stick around? For His sake. For His purpose. For His glory.
What should we do? Yield ourselves to Christ. We are commanded above all else to love, worship, and serve the Lord and to love and serve others in Christ’s name. But how can we endure what can be excruciatingly challenging and painful trials in sticking with certain loved ones? In the strength of Christ. By being continually filled with God’s Spirit and ever filling ourselves with God’s Word. By being refined by God, by dying to self and living for Him. If we seek the Lord with all our hearts, and check what we believe He speaks to us against His Word because He will never speak against it, we will know if and when He wants us to step back or stick around with loved ones. We should not make our decisions based on what we see, think, and feel, but on the Lord and His Word. That we might ever live to bring glory to His most holy, blessed, magnificent forever name!