When Walking Away is an Act of Love

Last year three brothers began coming by me every day for a Bible story. I was excited about them not only being there, but working very hard.

  1. They reviewed the books of the Bible at home and could quote both the Old and New without any problem
  2. They also daily reviewed that weeks memory verse so that they could quote five to six of them at a time
  3. and always gave me their full attention

After ending my Bible club ministry at Church I would come by their home during the week to give Bible studies on the porch. It was a joy to see them excitedly run out the door and down the steps after hearing my voice call them.

And then something happened……

One of them started becoming very rude and disrespectful

He happened to have some cousins who didn’t think things like memory-verses, Bible songs, or studies from Scripture were “cool.” Slowly they began to influence the way that he responded to me when I came by. A few times when I would come while the cousins were there, he would be incredibly disrespectful in a way to show off for them

I responded by leaving and not seeing them at all for a time, while making clear to him acting that way towards me would not be tolerated. Shortly after I started returning he was disrespectful again, so I’ve stopped ministering to him altogether

This is incredibly hard because I remember the boy who loved to hear the Word of God, and part of me wants to keep pursuing him. However, continuing to minister when he chooses an attitude of arrogance and disrespect sends the message those actions are okay.

So I’ve walked away from his hardened heart, knowing this is the most loving thing that I can do

walking away doesn’t seem as an act of love at first I know. But it is an incredible act of love because I am no longer allowing him to use me for attention. I’m well aware that he’s using me as a way to make himself look cool or strong in front of his cousins. Continuing to come will just feed his desire for attention, and enable stronger disrespect.

Walking away is also loving because it makes him realize just how sinful his actions are. Continuing to come would make him think being disrespectful isn’t that big of a deal (I’ll just come back) but going weeks without seeing me shows he is in the wrong.

In a deeper sense walking away is a confession that there’s nothing I can do to break his hardened heart. Its true that teaching of Scripture can break his stubbornness but this is only if he is willing to listen. When the arrogance and disrespect is going on, he refuses to listen.

Walking away also keeps me from wasting my time (I say this lovingly, don’t view him as a waste) on the hardened hearts, and focus my energy on tender hearts. Its easy to become so focused on the rebellious that we completely overlook those who want to serve God.

Finally, walking away is love because over time God through the Holy Spirit will convict his heart about this sinful attitude. The Holy Spirt is the only who can break a hardened heart, and its my prayer that during this time God will lead him to repentance.

In my heart I believe the Lord will soften this young mans heart so that our relationship can be restored. But even if it never is, I’ll thank God for the days he excitedly ran down the steps to hear Gods Word, and and know that saying goodbye is the most loving thing I could do.

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