Stay or Leave?

Photo by nenetus at Freedigital           
Many of us face that question at some point in our lives. The bad boss, the abusive spouse, the not-so-good friend, the negative church or social group, how long do we stay? When is it time to shake the dust off our shoes and move on? Scripture states after taking a great deal of verbal abuse, Paul and Barnabas “shook the dust from their feet in protest” and left the city. Acts 13:51.

How do we balance our Christian directive to love our enemies and discern when it is time to leave? I can’t speak for others, only for myself, but I personally believe it’s time to leave when it becomes obvious the other person does not intend to change and will continue the abuse. 

It takes me a long time to give up on a relationship, too long. I gave seven years to my ex-husband, leaving only when he held a pillow over my face until I quit struggling. I should have left long before that, but I believed it was “until death do us part” ― regardless.

When my ex fell asleep, I took our two boys and ran from the house.

Later that day, I went to church with my family. I asked God to change my ex. Instead, I heard a voice say,  “He is never going to change. You have no other choice, except leave.”

I’ve done the same in other relationships, hanging on far longer than I should.

Then, there are those on the other side, who leave the moment the relationship or job hits rocky ground. Rather than weather through the rough spot, they bolt. 

There isn’t any pat answer to the question of when to leave and when to stay, and each situation is different. After my experience, I firmly believe in prayer. God will show us the right path, when we get around to asking. I usually wait until I am desperate. I need to ask earlier. In fact, it’s a good idea to ask Him every day what He wants us to do ― in every situation. I bet life would be less complicated and troublesome, and I wouldn't be wondering whether to shake off the dust or wallow in it.


  1. There is never a time when I read your post that God doesn't answer a prayer of mine through your words. This today is the same. Thank you for these wise words. It also doesn't say that when they shook off the dust that kept looking back and wondering if what they did was right, no...the went forward. Going forward is healthy! Thank you.

    1. You are so welcome, Janette. Obviously I suffer from the same issues that many others face, and God intends that I share His answer to my prayers with others. We are fortunate to have such a compassionate father.


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