There is a trend of memes that has always bothered me, telling us to cut loose the negative people in our lives. I understand the world giving this advice, but this was recently the theme of a Christian email I receive. So I wondered, what does the Bible say about this? Is there anywhere in Scripture where Jesus tells us to walk away from those who bring us down? What does He tell us?
Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Luke 6:29
Jesus flips the whole thing on its head. He doesn’t tell us to cut loose those who drag us down. Instead He tells us to give them more than they asked for! When people drag you down, build them up!
Paul reinforces this in 1 Thess. 5:14-15. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.
But is there any truth in the directive to “cut loose” those who drag us down? Solomon advises, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent…do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, for their feet run to evil.” (Proverbs 1:10, 15-16a)
Solomon tells us to be careful whom we follow. Our close friends need to be people who will encourage us in our faith, and to live righteously. Choose your friends wisely. Turn your back on no one.
The world tells us to find what brings us joy. God tells us to find ways to bring others joy. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love others as you love yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)
Keep Seeking the Kingdom!