I’ve been sitting on this post for a long, long time but I felt like I was supposed to share it this morning so here you go.
The great preacher, T D Jakes, once said something that I think about often.
There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you, let them walk. I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. The Bible said that, “They came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us.” [1John 2:19] People leave you because they are not joined to you. And, if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go.
And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it’s dead. You’ve got to know when it’s over.
Let me tell you something. I’ve got the gift of goodbye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift. I believe in “goodbye”. It’s not that I’m insensitive or uncaring, it’s that I trust. I know whatever and whomever God means for me to have and be a part of my life He will give. And, if a relationship takes too much sweat I don’t need it. Stop begging people to stay. Let them go!!
The truth is that if you’re a pastor you become an expert at watching people leave. It just happens. Sometimes people leave because of job opportunities. Sometimes they leave because they’re mad about something. Sometimes it’s just time for them to move on. Regardless of the reason, as a pastor you get to see a lot of people leave. (The upside is that you get to see a lot of people arrive too!)
I can tell you that every time someone leaves, even for the right reasons, it hurts. I once believed that this was something that I would get used to over time but I don’t think you ever really get used to it. Bil Cornelius, pastor of the Bay Area Fellowship, once told me that it never gets any easier. That floored me. His church is huge and if he still feels it then I guess I always will.
So, what do you do when people want to leave? Whether they are leaving your church, your company, or your life, what do you do? Well, I think Bishop Jakes hit the nail on the head. As hard as it might be, just let them go. Talk with them or pray with them if they’re interested in that sort of thing but don’t spend any energy trying to convince people into staying with you when they are sure then want to leave.
You just have to trust God in all this. You have to trust Him to take care of them. You also have to trust Him to take care of you. God doesn’t need them to do what He wants to do in your life. He’s also big enough to take care of them. Just let them go and let it go. Trust God and just say goodbye.