“Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister” (2 Thessalonians 3.14-15 NLT).
Staying away from people we love is a difficult choice. If they are refusing to see truth and continue to behave against God’s commands to love Him and loves others, sometimes the most loving thing we can do is put some distance between them and us. They are not our enemies; however, they are not admitting and repenting to actions that are contrary to God’s Word—actions that are hurting us, our family and our purpose. Only when we have done everything in our power to confront the issue in love and peace and they still refuse to heed the warnings, can we set a dividing “stone,’ protecting us from further harm. We can still love them and pray for them, but they may never see their sin until they have lost all the people whom they care about. This separation may be their only hope to truly confronting their wounds, so they my find healing. Hurt people hurt people, but God wants to heal our wounds and repair our relationships. When God has us “stay away” for a time, we can continually pray and trust that God will offer healing and reconciliation to those who desire to atone for behavior that contradicts His heart.
“See this pile of stones,” Laban continued, “and see this monument I have set between us. They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me” (Genesis 50.151-52 NLT).