In Luke 19:45-48, Christ went to the temple and “cast out” the merchants, and people who were using His sacred temple for the wrong purposes. In seminary, my class learned to apply this scripture to our lives by getting rid of things that distract you from the Spirit and living a Christ centered life. While many of the things we talked about were objects and habits, this can also apply to people. There are some people in your life that do nothing to bring you closer to God or, in some circumstances, pull you away from those ideals. The trick is to learn when to let go and how to do so without becoming spiteful.
The easiest way to tell if you should let someone go is just to decide if they are being nice to you. If someone you associate with isn’t treating you well, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. You should surround yourself with people that uplift you.
You will also know when you need to let someone go if all they do is hurt you. That may seem like common sense but it is harder than some may think. I’ve had “friends” who have caused me so much pain but I couldn’t bring myself to stop letting it happen because I cared about them too much. Everyone in your life is put there for a reason, and sometimes that reason is to teach you a lesson. Having someone like this in your life is like a poison that you keep drinking. These people pull you from happiness and things that matter most. Friends should make you happy, that much is simple. What’s not simple is actually letting someone go.
So how do you let people go? It really depends on the situation. Sometimes letting someone go means not initiating things with them anymore, but still talking to them in passing. Sometimes it is cutting off communication. It may not be cutting someone out of your life, but not clawing your way back into theirs. You have to make the decision that is best for you. If this person is hurting you, you have to make the decision for yourself that you deserve better. And you do, you deserve the best. It’s not a matter of hating the person, it’s a matter of self-love. Because you love yourself, you are not going to let this person affect who you are and how happy you are. You forgive them and move on. You need to let go of mistakes no matter how long it took you to make them.
Letting people go does not mean you are a bad person, it means you are a strong person. It means you have high standards. You may be worried about having less friends because you are trying to stay on the straight and narrow. There is a high chance that living in a Christlike way will lead to you losing some friends. But don’t let your fear of loneliness lower your standards. Christ was perfect, and there were people who hated him so much that they crucified Him. So is it any surprise that we, as imperfect beings, will have a couple of people who don’t want to hang out with us? Not everyone is going to like you. That says absolutely nothing about you.
Think of the person you respect the most. Now imagine that one of their friends starts to treat them poorly. Does that say anything bad about the person? Does the person seem heartless when they stop hanging out with the person who is treating them poorly? No. Your value is not determined by the opinions of others. Your value is not how many likes you get, or followers you have, or how many people invite you to things. Your value is beyond what you can believe and the only person who needs to believe that is you. I can’t even imagine how sad it must make our Heavenly Father when we, his most prized creations, doubt that He made us perfectly ourselves. You may not be as beautiful as this person or as smart as another, but you’re not supposed to be. You are the perfect you. I am the perfect Kylie Adamson that I need to be. We are all the perfect size, shape, weight, color, and height for what we were sent here to do. God determined our value long ago and the world can never change that.
I wrote a poem on this subject that I’d like to share. It is titled “I Once Made Friends With a Butterfly”:
I once made friends with a butterfly
Togetherness was our constant cry
We jested ‘til the day grew dark
And again when arose the sun’s first spark.
When pride would get in our love’s way
We talked ‘til in peace we could lay
He told me forever and ever
We would never fall apart nor sever
Then one day my butterfly spread his wings
When he heard yonder birds begin to sing
I grabbed my net to chase him down,
I muddied up my fresh, white gown.
When I swung my net he just flew higher,
Through tears I screamed “You said forever!”
For years I ran through brush and thorn
Trying to keep a love forlorn
But then I learned, as you will, too
True friends always come back to you
Remember to be strong, full of self-love, focused on Christ, and charitable and you will gain and keep the friends you deserve.