There are many people that have come and gone in my lifetime. Like you, I’ve had best friends become lost friends, enemies try to be friendly with me, family members turn their backs on me and even disown me. I have been hurt by people and have had my love misused and abused. Through it all, I’ve learned to put myself first and to still show love by praying for them from afar.
It took awhile to get to this point in my life. The only person I’ve ever really needed in my life was Jesus Christ; but for years, I held onto people. No matter how badly they treated me, I would just accept it. I’d hope they’d change but even in the midst of it all, I’d still stuck around waiting and accepting whatever they gave me. As I’ve grown, I’ve learned that acceptance doesn’t mean you take whatever someone gives you. Acceptance means you acknowledge that person for who they are while also realizing your value and worth.
Self-love and spiritual growth taught me that I was doing “acceptance” all wrong. Yes, I should accept people for the individuals God created them to be; however, I must also accept that I deserve to be treated with love, care, compassion, kindness and above all, respect. “He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.” (Psalms 33:15 NLT)
Loving from a distance was one of my biggest lessons. I have come to terms with the fact that what they did to me is a reflection of their lack of love and not mine. I’m better off because I do not allow them to have direct access to my life. I’ve learned to love myself first, value and cherish my own heart. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)
What they did to me may have hurt at the time, but now their painful words, their hateful actions, their negative energy doesn’t affect me anymore. I’ve learned to forgive and accept the past and the people I cannot change. I’ve learned that my current place of happiness doesn’t have room for toxic relationships and energy. Having found my happy place through Jesus Christ, I’ve learned that I can no longer hate them for who they are but that I must pray for them, love and accept them for who they are. They just don’t have to be around me in order to do so!
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 5:44-45 NLT)
Justice is not mine to give, it’s the Lord’s. Karma is not mine to handle, only God can dish that out. “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19 NLT). My job is to keep smiling, loving, praying and growing in the true faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. God will handle the rest.
So I say to you dear friends-and-family-in-Christ, it’s okay to recognize that someone isn’t for you. It’s okay to remove and distance yourself from toxic people that do not belong in your life. Not everyone can go with you to your next level. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you like someone or be around them. Again, acceptance simply means that you acknowledge them for being who they are but that you have authority over your life to respectfully decline their presence in your life. Understand that not everyone will treat you with the same love, compassion and sensitive care as you treat yourself; but that’s why God gave us a free will. He doesn’t say in the Bible that we must be around everyone who drives us crazy or those who hate us and mean us harm. No, Jesus said, “This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17 NLT) “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NLT). So, learn to love from a distance. Let the Holy Spirit help you understand that where God is taking you, everyone can’t go.
I pray you learn to forgive the things you cannot change and accept the people who’ve walked in and out of your life. Know that it’s not your job to change anyone. God’s given us a specific job and that’s to love, accept and pray for them. Value what’s good about them but despise what’s bad about them and keep it moving. Find your inner happiness and let God handle the rest. I pray the Lord helps you identify the toxic beings in your life that you need to let go of. May He continue to be the driving force guiding, nurturing and protecting you on your journey. Go now in peace knowing that you can change any drama or negative person in your life by simply loving, praying and accepting them from a distance. In Jesus name Amen.
Sincerely with love,
Travel photography by IG user: @_enk