We’ve all been there. We come to a crossroads with someone in our lives and realize that we can’t move forward with them for some reason. We worry. We fret. We feel tremendous guilt. And quite frankly, we wonder if it goes against our faith to simply remove them from our lives. Is it ever okay to cut a person out of your life? In short, yes. But, before you take a knife to the chopping block, there are things to consider:
Am I taking it too far?
Disagreeing with someone in your life is not the same as being harmed by them. There are a great many ways for differing opinions to divide people. But we must remember that someone disagreeing with our opinion is not the same as someone being against us. As believers, we should be able to have disagreements while still understanding (and respecting) the other person’s viewpoint. You never know the faith-value you may add to a difficult person’s life, and should consider whether or not God has placed you in their lives for a reason, or them in yours.
Have they proven themselves untrustworthy?
Relationships are built on trust. For some, this is a hard concept to grasp and they will continually allow an untrustworthy person to remain in their lives for fear that they are being unfair. But, once you determine that someone in your life cannot be trusted, is it really to your advantage to keep them close? If someone has taken actions that prove themselves untrustworthy, believe them. People will show you who they are. Remove them before the harm becomes irreparable.
Am I being manipulated?
People, who are in your life with only themselves in mind, truly don’t want to be in it for the right reason. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Relationships are a give and take. And while I truly believe that people are placed in our lives for specific reasons, it doesn’t mean that we have to allow them access to us if they clearly don’t have our best interests at heart. If you are always giving because there’s nothing left to take, you are being taken advantage of. It’s time to break away.
Am I in harm’s way?
This should go without saying. But, the same guilt that holds you in a disrespectful relationship with someone holds others in abusive relationships. It is extremely hard to remove someone from our lives, especially if we care deeply for them. But, if there is abuse of any kind: physical, mental, or emotional, you have every right to remove yourself from that situation by removing that person from your life. We are called to live in peace with others and to forgive—yes—but we are not called to live in harm. The truth is that even other believers can harm us in this way, and we are called to remove them (1 Corinthians 5:13). If someone’s behavior is harming you and their actions indicate that this will continue, cut them out.
We are allowed (and smart) to place boundaries around ourselves that protect our well-being. If we don’t—let’s face it—no one else will. Showing love and respect to others does not mean forgoing loving and respecting ourselves. God wants us to live in freedom so that we can positively impact the lives of others for Him. Make yourself as effective in that role as you can be, by freeing your life from people that would hold you back from doing so.