When It’s OK to Walk Away
Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” Luke 20:8
Occasionally, in the clinic, I’ll meet someone who already knows what he needs and when I fail to agree, this individual becomes argumentative. He doesn’t want my opinion, but rather wants a specific prescription, which I feel is inappropriate for the diagnosis. Not taking “no” for an answer, he protests and attempts to manipulate. I’ll usually try to provide a reasonable explanation for my decision, but upon realizing that this isn’t a reasonable discussion, I need to simply cut it off. We’re not going to agree here, but neither are we going to continue arguing about it. It’s time to go. Abandoning further futility, I realize that our relationship has become combative and it’s time to end the discussion.
In today’s passage, Jesus walked away from those who simply wanted to argue. In the story, the religious leaders of the day approached him with a question. They weren’t seeking knowledge though. They already knew everything and simply wanted to fight, manipulate, and accuse. They weren’t pursuing God, but rather their own agenda. Jesus refused to play the game and walked away. You don’t want to know the truth. You only want to argue, and I’m not required to answer to you (my paraphrase).
We often feel the burden to attempt to change the minds of those who disagree with us. When it comes to our faith, we’re convinced of a truth and we desire that everyone agrees. When we encounter those who disagree, we often feel the need to debate for God. There are times though, when it would be wisest, just to walk away and move on.
To be sure, I should be able to give a reasonable explanation for what I believe to the one who is truly seeking. When an addict wants to know about the transformation of my recovery, I should answer. Often though, when someone disagrees with me, it’s not my love for the individual, but rather my ego, that drags me into a futile debate. When someone simply wants to attack my faith because he doesn’t believe as I do, I need to learn to let it go.
We’re responsible for ourselves. We’re not responsible for the faith, recovery, or beliefs of anyone else. Sometimes, when a relationship leads only to conflict, it’s OK to simply walk away.