“Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet…”
Though I’ve written about this before, a recent encounter with a troubled friend urged me to do so again. It isn’t easy for me to walk away. This propensity to stay connected is partially genetic and partially learned. My parents opened their door to everyone. I recall my mom saying, “I leave the door open. If people choose not to come in, it’s their loss.” Jesus also welcomed everyone who crossed his path. Since I subscribe to Jesus’ way of life, I try to welcome others as Jesus did. This is the reason it’s difficult for me to advise anyone to do precisely the opposite.
Still, at times, walking away is ones only reasonable option. We all know people who aren’t good for us. They may not render physical harm, but they certainly take a psychological or spiritual or emotional toll on us. I find that if my gut offers a strong reaction to someone, I need to pay attention. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I should never speak to that person again. However, it may mean that I need to limit our contact. If this doesn’t remedy the situation, I may have to walk away after all.
I acknowledge that this is an odd topic for a reflection, especially when I have much to rejoice about in my life these days. I’ve included it because my troubled friend was convinced that part of “being good” is allowing ourselves to be hurt unnecessarily. Our loving God couldn’t disagree more.
Dear God, stay with us, help us to recognize potential harm and guide us away from its source.
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