I don’t really like giving up on someone, specially when I see a flicker of hope in a person. Just the past years I was teaching different groups of children, hoping that they would respond to the call of God. There were many times I’ve contemplated to stop teaching, because they were not making any progress. They still wouldn’t go to church. They were still afraid of their parents. They just thought it was not worth it. But when I realized that they still wanted me around, teaching them, I continued. But after several years they still didn’t respond, and they felt like they were getting tired of me, so after many prayers and asking for advice, I gave up. I stopped teaching them, and left them to God’s hands.
But it was painful, really painful. I’ve come to love these people (think about it: I’ve started teaching them when they were at elementary level, and when I stopped they were already in the middle of high school!), and would it not be painful being with them for a long time? But I thought I had to do it. I felt God wanted me to do it.
There was also this friend that I brought to the Lord, and I also gave him up a few days ago. I rebuked someone close to him, and he was the one who took it hard. He started saying a lot of things and doing a lot of things that were not “friendly,” not even ethical. I tried to restore him, but he refused. So with prayers I decided to stop. I gave him up.
Is it bad to give up? At first I thought it is, because we always get this message anywhere that you should not give up. Well it may sound pretty honorable, but the fact is, there are times when it is necessary, and right, to give up.
First, for my benefit. I wouldn’t be able to move on if I don’t. I wouldn’t accomplish new things and meet new people if I don’t give up. I will dwell on things and people which are (really) already past, like, say, the death of someone dear. If I were to live, there are times that I should give up.
Second, for the one who’ve been given up, is to get them back. You may not realize, but the real reason I gave them up is because I want them back. Without me in their presence, they might come to realize how important I am to them, and they will decide to come back to me. Some people take a while, others take a long time, others don’t simply return. But a majority of them will. That’s what’s important to me.
I believe God is the same. While He’s infinitely more persevering than me, He also decides to give up. He gave up on king Saul, He gave up on the unbelieving cities in the person of Jesus, the book of Romans says He gave sinners up to their own lusts. The Lord Jesus commanded to give up an unrepentant member of a church to be able to restore him.
For me, giving up is actually hoping. And hoping is not a negative thing.