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How Do You Know—When To Love—And When To Walk Away?

“How long do I have to love someone before it’s okay to walk away?” When I’m discipling people on how to love like God does, I often get asked this question. It’s a very, very tough question. A tempestuous relationship with someone in your inner circle—a friend, co-worker, business partner, spouse, or a family member can be emotionally and spiritually devastating. 

How much love is too much? 

When can you walk away?

This struggle is especially difficult with long-term relationships. On one hand, you want to demonstrate that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things;” but on the other hand, when do you have a license to heed the words of Jesus and—walk away shaking “off the dust from your feet” because they have rejected your love? (1 Corinthians 13:7; Mark 6:11)

So what should you do? 

Do you continue to drain yourself interacting with someone as if you believe they have good intentions even though your history with them has proven they don’t? How can you love without being suspicious of whether they’ll back-stab or take advantage of you? How do you love “hoping all things”… in a sinful world where most of what you experience is…betrayal?

I’ll never forget the conversation I had with God when I was spiritually and emotionally grappling with these questions in one of my long-term relationships. I desired to continue the relationship but I was also very afraid of what it was going to cost me because I had a long history of being crushed by this person. So…I finally got around to asking God how to handle it. [Go figure.] Here is how the conversation went:

Me: “Father, how can I go on loving this person without suspicion? How do I keep from being taken advantage of or being hurt? Am I supposed to stay in this relationship?” [God is okay with compound questions! 😏]

God: “Jesus walked the earth for 33 years. He loved His enemies so much He died for them. I’m not asking you to do that…I’m just asking you to surrender to Me. Jesus made the way for each of you humans to have a relationship with Us. He knows who will stay the course in love for Him and who will ultimately reject Him.

Me: “Well, ummm, yeah right….well, He is God, like You are, and He knows everything in the future and…well…I don’t!

God: “Exactly!” 

Me: [Dumb silence.]

God: “Let me break it down to you Barney-style. Stick close to ME and you will know not only—HOW to love but WHO to love.

Me: [Long silent pause] “Boy, am I slow…”

This conversation gave me great freedom and joy.

God answered my BIG questions: 

“How do I love without suspicion?”

“How do I know “when” or “if” to walk away?”  

Simple: When I am close to God, He shows me WHO to love, WHEN to love, and HOW much to love. 

Close to God, I am free to love full throttle—at His direction. I don’t have to worry about the results…I just obey. I’ve seen God guide me in love—time after time. For example: 

God has allowed me to love without explanation and reservation even if I can’t SEE it will make a bit of a difference. 

God has shown me to walk away from relationships because HE KNOWS the person is hardened and will just use me. He has given me peace (without vengeance) to pray for mercy for them.

God has led me to—pray with, love on, and even cry with—complete strangers which has produced experiences I would have never had if my heart had maintained an inkling of reservation based upon what I could see about them.

God’s Spirit has led me to remain silent around some and simply offer a silent prayer for them. 

Loving at God’s direction and in His way—is unspeakably amazing! Surrender to Him. Allow Him to guide you in love. You will not be disappointed.

God’s presence allows us to love others freely because His Spirit reveals WHO is ready to be loved and HOW to love them.

To learn more about Kimberly Faith and the mission of Faith Strong, click HERE.

Out Now – Essential Faith, Volume II. Find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.

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