A while ago we noticed that many people are pushing others away from their lives. The number keeps growing more and more rapidly. They determine that they have no need of certain people. So, they eliminate these people’s ability to be a part of their lives any longer. It’s their way of erasing people—at least certain ones, from any interaction, what-so-ever. They don’t need them, like them, and/or love them any longer, so they’re out! And for that reason, they turn their backs to them as if they no longer exist.
Now, we want to first clarity something here. We realize we’re only hearing one side of the story. There may be a different “truth” going on here than we’re being told. And this unrevealed truth can totally change things. But when abuse or addiction issues are involved, it can become necessary to push the other person away (for at least a determined period of time) to see if changes are made in their abusive behavior. But we’re not talking abuse, addiction, or safety issues here.
We’re talking about non-abusive spouses/relatives/spouses who truly WANT to reconcile to work through the problems with these erasing people. They will agree to do almost anything to have a chance at “do-over.” Their motives and actions are sincere. Even so, they are no longer being given the chance!
In particular, we’ve been watching spouses dump out of marriages at alarming rates with the (now common) excuse “I love you, but I am not IN LOVE with you.” This is their justification for their “erasing” activities. They push their spouse entirely out of their lives; and then they build new “single focused” lives apart from their spouse.
Forget the broken vows, and broken hearts they leave behind. And forget the broken, and confused children, other family members and friends that are forced to struggle to make sense of it all. But as they often say, “God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy.” It’s amazing that somehow, they don’t connect the dots that now all of THESE people are unhappy. Does God only want the one person happy, but the rest don’t matter?
Additionally, we’ve been watching families and friends splitting apart because certain “members” don’t feel the same love, and/or commonality for each other as they once did. They claim that they “grew apart.” So, they push away parents, siblings, other family members, friends, or whoever they don’t want in their lives anymore. They then say, “it will be best for all if we split.” This is posed as if it’s the “kind” thing to do. Hmmm… where do we go to vote on what’s best for “all” and what’s TRULY the “kind” thing to do? Obviously, nowhere, because it’s being done regardless.
In this Marriage Insight, we just want to bring this issue to the forefront. There doesn’t appear to be much light being brought to focus on this growing issue.
Erasing People Isn’t Entirely New
Sure, families have broken up through the centuries. And sure, there are some people we need to back away from because of their toxicity and their abusive ways. But this is happening in epidemic numbers to good families. These are good people who WANT to work out the conflicting issues in their lives together. And yet they aren’t given the chance! NOPE! One person decides for all. And everyone else has to pick up the pieces. This one person has decided that the task of tolerating or reconciling their differences, isn’t worth it to them. So that’s that! That person is erased; it’s as if they don’t exist!
And what’s REALLY distressing is that many of these people say that they are “Christians.” They believe that God is supporting them in this decision. This is happening even though it doesn’t line up scripturally in any way. It is like they believe that God has written a new rule for them. It may not be for anyone else, but it is for them.
This really hit us when we read the scripture in John 17:21-23. It’s where Jesus is praying to our Heavenly Father:
“…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.“
The Mission of Working Through Differences
What that tells us is that God desires that we “become one” as Believers. We are to work THROUGH our differences. We are to persevere. (See James 5:3-4 and Romans 5:3-4.) This is ESPECIALLY true as it pertains to marriage where we’re told to “cleave together as one.”
If we don’t apply tenaciousness in persevering through our differences, we aren’t following God’s commands. We can’t really call ourselves followers of Christ if we aren’t working together “to love as we are loved” in all our ugliness and sin—giving grace as God gives us grace. We aren’t following the ways of Christ. Essentially, we’re doing our thing, not His.
God KNOWS it is tough for us to love others. I’m sure it is tough for Him to love us many, many times. But He tells us to tough it out anyway, so we reflect the “oneness” and love that He wants the world to experience. We are His witnesses of His love for everyone. He wants to give to them love and grace, just as He has given it to us. We are to be a living picture of that love.
Erasing People Does Not Extend Grace
But what happens when we go off dumping and erasing one another? What happens when we are seeking an ever-changing “happiness” and the FEELING of love? Just what does that tell those who are witnessing our words and our actions? We call ourselves “followers” of Jesus Christ, and yet we do these things. Won’t that bring up questions in their minds as we erase, dump, and seek feelings? Won’t they question, “Just who is this Jesus, anyway? Is He credible if His followers do the opposite of who He is?”
Yes, He is! DESPITE those who abuse His grace—He IS credible. That is a fact, despite the abuses of HIs followers.
When we “fall out of love” or when we aren’t feeling the love, we believe we should for others, it takes real faith in God to stay faithful. It takes the application of perseverance and tenacity not to give up doing things God’s way.
We’re told in James 1:2-4, to “know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [or perseverance]. And let steadfastness [or perseverance] have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Prayerful Questions and Challenges
So, we want to ask you this question (as we’ve asked ourselves). Are you trying to erase people from your life that God would not want you to? We’re talking about erasing a spouse, or a family member, or someone else. Could it be that God wants YOU to show His love to them, even if that love isn’t reciprocated? Think about it. We’re not talking about abusive situations, but rather ones in which the “feeling” may not be there for them right now. After all, God’s name means LOVE. Who better to teach you to love than God, Himself?
Think about it… pray about it. We are. And even if you’re not having a problem in this area of life, is there someone God may want you to talk to about this issue? Again, think about it… pray about it. Together, we CAN make a difference if we allow God’s Light to shine through!
Cindy and Steve Wright
P.S. The text of this message comes from a blog that Cindy wrote several years ago. But we feel compelled to put it into a Marriage Insight at this point. That’s because the problem keeps growing. Please join us in praying about this issue. It’s an important one!
Also, Cindy wrote a follow-up blog about this matter after this one. You can read it at: Erasing People from Our Lives – Part 2.
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13 responses to “Erasing People from Our Lives”
I have someone trying to erase me. This resonates. My husband says he is unhappy so he left! We have been married 31 years. He just became born again and appears to be ok with the obvious conflict in his own faith. Thanks for your article.
My heart breaks for you Joann… after 31 years. WOW! We have a grown son who has erased us from his life with no big issues causing this –so, so sad. The tears never stop. But God is faithful even when others are not. He knows what it is like –He can relate because He has many that He loves, who try to erase Him from their lives. Lean upon Him to minister to your heart needs. I don’t know how anyone could get through this without leaning upon and looking to Him. Please know that I care and pray for you. “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) “Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright.” (Psalm 112:4)
Thank you for your insight. I’m very confused by his contradictory behavior. I’m sorry for your son what’s indeed is this happenings out there? I was not raised that way. It seems as though any slight is a reason to create a wall.
Oh Cindy, You’ve hit a hot button in Christian circles today. It seems the world has had more influence on the church than vice versa in this area. Commitment at all costs is fine unless the cost becomes more than we bargained for. I’m sorry for your experience in this area, but God isn’t wasting your tears. He has a plan and He is working it for your good. One day we’ll understand, but until then–thank you for the way you are glorifying God through your tears. He is faithful. Love you dearly, Debi
Thanks Debi. God is using the pain we’ve been experiencing to better understand the depth of pain that so many others feel when they are being erased by a family member –whether it’s a “child” or a spouse. The depth of pain is unimaginable when you go through something like this, especially when it makes no sense to us. But like I said, this seems to be happening in epidemic proportions. Every time I turn around I hear or read of someone else who is being torn apart because they are being erased from the life of someone they love. This is happening to Christians as well as those outside of the faith –so, so, so sad. But thank God that as you lean into Him, He brings comfort, light, and hope that life won’t stop, even though your heart is broken. God is so very good.
Thanks my friend for your love, support and prayers… you are an incredible friend. Love you back :)
I have been divorced from my second wife for 29 years now and she has remarried and has been for twenty some odd years while I have remained single. I have one son from this marriage and no children from the first marriage. She lives in Mississippi and I live in New York. I am now 62 years old and my ex-wife, Risa, is 51. My son Phil is 31 and he lived with Risa and her husband from the time he was around 5 until the age of 20. Phil now lives, with his wife and kids, in the next town from where I live. My son has severed all contact from his mom because of physical/mental abuse he allegedly suffered from the stepdad. She denies that this ever happened and says Phil is lying while Phil says she is lying. She contacted me to see if I could help reestablish the relationship between those two but got annoyed because she was being difficult and bringing up the past.
I thought she would be more appreciative that we started communicating again but I ended up unfriending her because it was causing discomfort and told her to let go of the past. She finally is going to write Phil to get him back in her life but I feel she does not really want me in the picture at all and feel that I need to exclude her from my life; forgive her yes but let her live her life and let me live mine. What do you think should be done if your ex-spouse does not want any kind of a relationship? Should my son sever call ties with his mom?
As a result of all of what I listed below my story, I’m currently recently divorced from the love of my life. I love her so much. We got lost in the devils lies believing that it was all about us and in order to be happy we need to be divorced.
I’m praying for a reconciliation with my precious wife now ex-wife, specifically what Im praying for you will find directly below:
– We both need to get right with Him when it comes to the fact that as a result of our past relationships/people etc.., we both have/had so much bitterness, anger, resentment.
– We both need to have the bitterness, anger and resentment we have towards each other to be healed
– I’m praying that God works on both of our hearts that once we allow God to heal our souls(resentment, bitterness etc), then this would then allow allow our new nature to be back in charge.
– I’m praying that God would then allow us to re-energize/rebuild our Christian character combined with new nature in charge, taking and using the fruit of the spirit as the foundation for this rebuilding process.
-I’m praying for her that God would soften her heart in general but towards me in particular.
-I’m praying for her well being. I’m praying that God will heal all of her hurts past and present.
-I’m praying that through His word using the scriptures that are obvious and that He lays on our heart, that He would show us individually even though we are divorced we need this, how to be a husband, how to be a wife, how to come together as husband and wife under His authority, how to forgive, how to allow and help each other be better Christians.
-I’m praying that we would follow God’s plan and not our plan for reconciliation. Honestly this cant even begin to happen until we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, our lives, and becoming what He wants to be as a Christian when it comes to being in a relationship.
– I”m praying most of all that God brings me back to being Christ centered and honoring, He works in my life, ingraining the fruit of the into my character.
My story is below…thank you for taking time to read/listen:
I’m thankful for this article…We faced so many different issues..I lost my first wife who I loved dearly to cancer. I then met the love of my life, my soulmate.
After a 9 month courtship, we got married. I didn’t realize the extent of how much she had been hurt in the past emotional… mental abuses perpetrated upon her by her former ex husband and other relationships. She is a very guarded individual. She never let me completely in to trust me completely even though until I got frustrated.
I had never given her a reason to not trust. I honestly didn’t know how to communicate to and with her. We never could sit down to discuss basic things much less the deeper level things that she was dealing with. In turn, I got offended and I shutdown. I love her with all my heart. I wanted to be there for her. I wanted to comfort and give comfort to her. I made a lot of investments into our relationship.
In the end, I believe the emotional and mental pains, hurts (some that I caused by my shutting down) that she had stored up for so long were so painful combined with my behavior of shutting down. We didn’t know how to fix it. We started listening to the devil’s lie that if you aren’t happy, you should be happy and you need to make yourself happy. You don’t need to be together.
God brought us together in a divine way. I still believe with all my heart that God wants us to be together and fulfill His plan for our lives. I believe that God has given us His special love the Love of Christ. I believe that God wants to heal us and one day come back together as husband and wife.
Can you please pray with me? Thank you!
A very insightful article, Cindy. Sadly, this is exactly what I am going through with my wife too.
We are told to love our neighbour, and Jesus explains this with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan was a good neighbour. The people who see the injured man first are not; they are ‘bad’ neighbours. And what did the bad neighbours do? They knew the man was there but pretended he wasn’t. In refusing to see the man, they we’re erasing him.
I’m so sorry Andrew. This is indeed heartbreaking. And to have our spouse do this to us it makes this especially grievous. My heart goes out to you. I pray your wife opens her eyes to see that you want to love her and want to be loved by her.
I don’t know what closed her spirit to you. There are so many things… they could be real or imagined. But as you pray (which we know you do), ask Him what closed her spirit and what you can do to help it to open again. And then do it. Prayer involves petitioning God and listening to what He has to say. It is a two-way conversation. Pray that God would show you how to live as He would have you–that is a personal relationship involvement. And also pray that God would show you how to live in such a way that will open your wife’s spirit, now and in the future. That will take consistent living for a lifetime. It’s not just a matter of living a certain way UNTIL your wife opens her spirit. It’s living as God would have you for the rest of your life. Even if your wife won’t respond to your or to the Lord’s promptings, you are still leaning into healthy living.
In addition–to help you (and in your growing relationship with the Lord)… lean into the Lord. It’s the safest place to lean. Go deep in your relationship with Him and you will see that He will lead you to places of peace, despite all that is going on around you (or isn’t going on around and with you). He will help you to find good things you can do that will help you. He is a safe place to land.
I pray God comforts you, brings good people your way for fellowship, and ministers to your every need and opens your wife’s eyes. With all my heart I pray: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 15:13) “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Colossians 1:11) “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (Romans 15:5-6)
Thanks Cindy and Steve, This is a very powerful and relevant sermon especially now when scripture that says in the last days the love of many shall grow cold (Matthew 24:12). One of the signs that we are believers separate from the world is the ability to work trough our differences and still love one another not only in our biological families but even in the body of Christ. We should let love lead in all that we do.
If God had not exercised His grace on us there was no hope for salvation because scripture says that God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners he died for us (Rom 5:8). No one can resist love and therefore the best way of mending relationships with those whom we are in disagreement with is to love them unconditionally.
Even where others are not seeing eye to eye lets take the attitude of being peace makers between then, the word of God says there is a reward for being peace makers, as Paul encourages to the two sisters in Philippians 4. Compare and contracts John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16. Thanks for the great teaching.
Thank you Desire for your supportive words. They mean a lot. And thank you for the additional insights you added. We love it when people participate in this way. God works through all of us in different ways and together, it’s amazing! “The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!” (Psalm 129:8)
What saddens me about being a Christian, is that because of what scripture says I am supposed to accept and live with the hurt imposed on me by others.
Over the last few years I have been attacked, used, abused emotionally and walked over. Because I have the title Christian, I have to grin and bear it, and trust the process of God. Trust His plan for my life, while smiling as if I am not broken in every way a person can be broken.
I am supposed to accept that this unhappy, empty life is His plan and go with the flow. I feel abandoned by my God.
Dearest Mona, I’ve been praying for you ever since I saw what you wrote. My heart is so heavy for you. I’m so sorry that you have suffered so much through the hands of others. It should never be!
But please don’t think that God puts you out there as a punching bag. That is the sinful nature of others. And also know that God does not expect you to stay in a victim’s status—continually suffering because of what others have done to you. Yes, you need to trust God for what He is going to do to your abusers. But God has a plan for your life, and that does not include hopelessness as you continually focus on all of this. You also need to be wise in not putting yourself in places where others can continue to abuse you. Ask God to help you with this. God does not want you to accept an “unhappy, empty life” as His plan for you.
Jesus came to give you an abundant life. That must mean that this is possible for us to have. Talk to God about this and ask Him to bring clarity to you as to how you can live the life that He came to give you. It’s different for all of us. But I do know that God wants us to look to Him with hope and not to focus on our brokenness, but rather come to a place where we give all our brokenness to Him so He will work good out of it, because we are “called according to His purpose.”
Here is a Psalm that came to mind as I was praying for you. David wrote when he was facing & had faced “many foes” that opposed him. It’s something I encourage you to cry out to God and stand upon, as it pertains to your thoughts. “But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy hill.” (Psalm 3:3-4) His answers may not come in our timing or the ways we thought they should, but they will come as we wait upon Him. God DOES care. He loves you, Mona. I know this with every fiber of my being. He is our Redeemer, and “the lifter” of our heads. Ask Him to help you with this.
I’ve had times (because of past abuses) that I have had to stand all over that scripture—crying out to God to be the lifter of my head because I felt so downtrodden. Eventually, God’s Light broke through each time I searched for it. Here’s another scripture that comes to mind to give you (that I encourage you to pray to God):
“My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God … Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation.” (Psalm 42:3-5)
I encourage you to read all of Psalm 42. Cry it out to God… pray it out to God. And then stand upon the hope that God will show you His love for you, and give you hope that you will see better days. Don’t focus on the evil that others do, but on the love of Christ and how He can redeem even the evil things that others do, as we lean into Him. Here’s another prayer to cry out to God:
“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth, I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!” (Psalm 61:1-4)
When you are feeling especially downcast, try to envision yourself being held “under the shelter of His wings.” I’ve done that and it helps. Sometimes I envision Jesus’ shoulder and I lay my head upon it ever so gently. And as I do, I feel His tender comfort and love.
Here’s another one that I’ve claimed so many times that comes to mind to give you. It’s found in Psalm 91:1-2: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”
Keep in mind that the enemy of our faith wants us to live in defeat. He wants us to dwell on hopelessness and despair—to take our eyes off the hope of Christ—the love of Christ and instead live a downtrodden life so we live continually in defeat. Don’t be fooled by those who want to take you down. Here’s an article that could really help you to discern what God is speaking to you, instead of the enemy: https://marriagemissions.com/discerning-the-difference-between-the-conviction-of-the-holy-spirit-and-condemnation-of-the-enemy/. Please read through and pray through it. I sense that God will talk to you as you do.
Above all, look up to God and ask Him to give you hope and help. Don’t let the enemy devour you. As I was having personal time with the Lord today, He specifically gave me these scriptures to give to you. I know this with all my heart that He wants you to grab onto and live out this message. It’s found in 1 Peter 5:6-1:
“Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
I hope and pray that this helps. I’m praying for you Mona. He keeps putting you on my heart to do so. And I can only think that He is doing so because He sees you and loves you more than you could ever imagine. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2) “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)