In the Gospel of John, we read that Jesus "became flesh and made his dwelling among us" (1:14 NIV). Jesus literally came down from heaven to walk among us. But what we often overlook in the Gospels is that Jesus often walked away from certain people . . . or let them walk away from him.
In this six-session video Bible study, bestselling author Gary Thomas draws on Jesus' example to show how the best course of action for us to take with some relationships is to walk away . . . or let the other person walk away. In the Gospels, we read that when Jesus spoke a hard truth, sometimes the other person chose to walk away (see Matthew 19:16–30). Other times, the person asked Jesus to leave—and he complied (see Luke 8:26–37). There were also times when people begged Jesus to stay, but he walked away so he could remain completely focused on the mission God had for him (see Luke 4:42–44).
Jesus never gave chase to those who left. He didn't run after people who rejected him and try to change their minds or bargain with them so they would again follow him. He did not feel obligated to try to convince unreasonable people to see the truth that he was provided. And, perhaps most important, he didn't allow anyone to distract him or interfere with the mission that God had given to him.
Most of us have run across toxic individuals who drain us of our joy and peace—people who resent the grace we share and will never change. However, as Gary will show in this study, we don't have to pour our time and energy into these people. Instead, we can follow Jesus' example to walk away from toxic people and walk toward healthy relationships that will encourage us, strengthen us, and build us up. And as we do, it frees us to focus completely on the purpose that God has established for our lives.