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Crossroads: How do you know when to cut someone off?

Scripture summary: Genesis 13:5-13 NRSV (Abraham and Lot separate), Genesis 18:20-33 NRSV (abraham intercedes for Lot), Genesis 19:1-29 NRSV (God saves Lot)

As we experience life, we’ll develop meaningful rich relationships that can carry over through seasons or a lifetime. Connecting with people of similar interests allows the relationship to blossom, however the longevity is determined by how well the friendship thrives through difficulty and growth. Friendships that withstand adversity graduate from shallow to close friends and the potential for long-term friendship is exponential at this stage. Yet, the potential is expired when adversity dissolves a friendship. There comes a time where we have to face the hard truth that some relationships aren’t permanent. This truth is painful but failed friendships are inevitable as we grow and change over time. In this blog I will use Abraham and Lot’s narrative to depict how to navigate relationship crossroads. Then, I will share how to grow from these tough experiences.

Brief Scripture Background

Abraham (or initially Abram) was called by God to leave the land of Ur and cling to a fruitful promise. God promised him land and descendants as numerous as the stars. Abraham left the land of Haran with his wife, possessions, servants, and his nephew, Lot. They traveled from Haran to Egypt due to a famine in the lands. Eventually they journeyed to Negeb and encountered a huge dilemma. Abraham and Lot’s possessions were too much for the small land. Imagine sharing an 610 sq feet apartment with another sibling that has the same amount of property as you do. It would be a hassle to live comfortably which was what they experienced because scripture says there was strife between their camps. The hebrew word for strife in this text is called, rîyb which means there were controversies and arguments. Soon, Abraham decided it was best for both camps to continue on different paths because they eventually reached a crossroad in their relationship.

Abraham saw it best for them to separate because even though this was his nephew and the closest thing he had to a son, he was willing to allow him to grow and live at peace. He wasn’t trying to control Lot, rather he was restoring his autonomy so that he can live freely in the land. Yes, they could’ve worked things out but it wasn’t a conducive environment as they continually outgrew each other. Abraham even said, “is not the whole land before you?”, meaning, there is so much land for each of us to explore. There’s no point in fighting in this relationship when God has given us the liberty to be anywhere (Gen 13:9 NRSV). Therefore, Lot accepted his uncle’s plea and decided it was also best to leave. Both went their separate ways and continued on the road that seemed the most appealing to their walk of life.

Now What?

A crossroad is defined as a point at which a vital decision must be made. It’s an intersection between what was and what could be. You can either alter the route by discovering a new community to meet new goals or you can continue on a journey with someone who was only designed for a season. A friend once sent me a video that stated, some people are in your life for a reason, season, and a lifetime. If we anticipate growth and new experiences, we need to be okay with letting some people go. It’s going to hurt, it’s not going to be easy but it's truly beneficial for both parties.

If Abraham did not let Lot go, they would have more than likely continued in unfavorable arguments and they would have probably ended up hating each other. Yet, Abraham saw the benefit of letting him go and Abraham trusted that God would protect him.

How to know when it’s time to let someone go…

  1. Outgrow each other

    1. Conversations aren’t appealing and personalities are differing way too much

    2. Don’t really enjoy being around them anymore.

  2. Argue way too much

    1. Can never meet at a middle ground

    2. May meet at a middle ground but discover new ways to argue

  3. They can not accept that they aren’t included in your long-term goals or accomplishments

    1. Sometimes we are on a specific journey in our lives and we can not include everyone with us. The plan doesn’t encompass everyone. Strife can emerge if this is not understood in a relationship/friendship.

When letting someone go, remember...

  1. This is not a bad thing

    1. Outgrowing people means you are growing. Growth is defined by increasing your developmental stage. You aren’t stagnant and your ideas are expanding.

  2. Both of you guys outgrew each other meaning….

    1. God has something in store for both of you! This isn’t only about you. They weren’t best for you but you also weren’t good for them either

  3. Send a prayer for their well being and keep it moving because life goes on.

    1. Don’t remain stuck in the past. God is the ultimate provider and will always send people to you. Pray that God will allow you to remain open to new friendships and remain on the growth path.

  4. Focus on the people you do have. (bonus)

    1. You may have lost the person but you still have other people in your life. Focus on the people that you enjoy in their company, are growing in a similar direction, and are in your next phase in life.

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be…

Until Next Time...

Peace & Blessings, XOXO

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