Developing a relationship with someone always involves a heavy emotional investment. No matter what stage of life we’re in, godly friendships keep us on the right track. However, some relationships were never meant to be; in these situations, no matter how hard we try to patch things up, they continue to deteriorate. God doesn’t want us to be locked into a painful, toxic relationship; when we’re in one, we may hear Him prompting us to move on.
We may pray and pray, but there’s a good reason why God doesn’t restore all broken relationships. Letting go can hurt emotionally because of all the work we’ve put in to make it succeed, but sometimes staying in it will keep us from moving forward. There’s real spiritual danger in a believer continuing to associate with ungodly people. “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God…” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NLT).
Sometimes the people we thought were our friends don’t have our best interests at heart. God has a plan for each of us; we mustn’t allow anything—not even our relationships—to stop us from moving forward into that plan. We may have been pals with someone for years, but not all friendships are healthy. A relationship built on the love of God doesn’t tear people down, but instead builds them up and strengthens them. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NLT).
Some people enter into a relationship because they feel incomplete without another person around. Some form friendships to use others for their own personal gain, or for any number of selfish reasons. Those are unhappy relationships marked by turbulence, strife, and the absence of godly love; they are the kind we must exit. In all our relationships we must keep loving each other earnestly, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Breaking out of a bad relationship may seem like a spiritual battle, but God is always willing to help us through it. He created relationships to make life enjoyable, but the devil does his best to steal the joy out of them. There’s no need to stay stuck in a joyless relationship; when we feel too dependent and weak to move out of something we know is bad for us, we can rely on God to strengthen us for the task at hand. “…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NKJV).
Good relationships enrich our lives and allow God to work through them to bless us; bad relationships can make us feel hopeless and sad. God’s will for us is to shun those that can ensnare us and gravitate toward godly people who encourage us to move toward the future He has planned for us. “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18, NIV). There’s never any downside to letting Him lead us forward when it’s time to say goodbye to the past.