What Does the Bible Say About Giving Up on Someone You Love?

Giving up on a loved one can be one of the most difficult things we face in life. When relationships become strained or broken, we can feel tempted to cut ties and move on. However, the Bible provides guidance on persevering in love, restoring relationships, and discerning when to “let go.” In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore biblical principles about not giving up on others, while also recognizing when separation may be necessary.


Human relationships are complex. We all make mistakes and let each other down at times. People change over time as well. When serious issues arise in a relationship, we may feel like throwing in the towel. However, Scripture calls us to reflect God’s patient, unconditional love as much as possible.

Giving up prematurely can be spiritually dangerous for both parties. It may reinforce patterns of selfishness and distrust. Alternatively, sticking things out with wisdom and grace can lead to growth, healing, and reconciliation. This requires relying on God’s strength, not our own. As we will see, the Bible provides wisdom for discerning when to persevere in love versus when to let go.

Key Takeaways:

  • Loving others mirrors God’s gracious love and reflects spiritual growth
  • Persevering in relationships develops Christlike character
  • Restoring broken relationships brings joy and models reconciliation
  • Setting healthy boundaries is sometimes necessary
  • Letting go with compassion may be warranted in cases of unrepentant sin or abuse
  • God can redeem any situation – his timing and purposes are perfect

With this foundation, let’s explore biblical principles about balancing godly perseverance and wisdom in when to “let go.” May God grant us discernment as we love others well!

What Does the Bible Say About Giving Up on Someone You Love?

Patience, Forgiveness, and Persevering Love

Throughout Scripture, God calls His people to reflect His loving patience and forgiveness. He continually pursues us despite our shortcomings. The Bible encourages us to mirror God’s unconditional love by not giving up easily on others when conflict or sin enters in.

For example, Jesus told a parable about an unmerciful servant who had his large debt forgiven, yet refused to forgive a small debt owed to him (Matthew 18:21-35). This illustrates God’s immense mercy toward us and how we should extend patience and grace to others. Even when people wrong or disappoint us, we are called to forgiveness, not bitterness. As 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 describes, “Love is patient, love is kind…It keeps no record of wrongs.” This applies to family, friends, coworkers, and romantic relationships.

Persevering in love develops godly character

Persisting in love and forgiveness allows God to shape our character into Christ’s image. As Romans 5:3-5 explains, persevering through sufferings produces perseverance, character, and hope. It transforms us to share in God’s love more deeply. When relationships get difficult, we may want to take the easy way out. However, sticking it out can lead to growth for both parties.

Scripture urges believers to demonstrate the gentle, selfless nature of Christ in how we treat others. Ephesians 4:2 instructs, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” This requires laying down our pride and rights to serve those who wrong us. God then uses painful relational trials to form His image within us (Romans 8:28-29).

Restoring relationships brings joy

There are few greater joys than reconciling with a loved one after conflict or distance. Luke 15 illustrates this through the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost (prodigal) son. When what was lost is found, celebration ensues! God desires for us to restore broken relationships whenever possible to reflect His reconciling love. As Romans 12:18 encourages, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” This applies to family, romantic, or church relationships.

Even if the other person remains unwilling to reconcile, Scripture calls us to do everything in our power to pursue peace. We must guard our own hearts against resentment. Romans 12:14 and 17 urge, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…Do not repay anyone evil for evil.” God may use our perseverance in love to eventually soften their hearts.

Wise Boundaries and Letting Go

The Bible does contain cases where godly people drew boundaries, separated, or cut ties from those pursuing sinful or abusive patterns. There are times when we should release a relationship to God with compassion and without bitterness. Certain circumstances make persevering ineffective or unsafe. Wisdom and discernment are needed about when to walk away.

Setting healthy boundaries

While Scripture urges persevering in love, it allows for wise boundaries when people remain unrepentant in sin or toxicity. We see this modeled in Jesus distancing himself at times from the hypocritical Pharisees (Matthew 16:6, 12). It also appears in Paul urging discipline for unrepentant sin within the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Setting clear boundaries can send a sobering message about the relational strains caused by ongoing issues. Boundaries provide opportunities for self-reflection and change. They also can protect us from harm caused by others’ sinful choices.

For example, substance abuse within a marriage may warrant a temporary separation until the spouse gets treatment. This upholds the relationship yet provides real consequences, protection, and hope for restoration. Appropriate boundaries show we are serious while also preserving the possibility of reconciliation if genuine change occurs.

When to let go

Despite our best efforts, some relationships deteriorate beyond repair. In certain dire cases, it becomes wise and necessary to “let go” completely for a season or permanently. This should not be done lightly. However, as Proverbs notes, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death” (14:12). We must be discerning when letting go becomes the right path.

This may apply when someone is engaged in destructive activities without repentance such as:

  • Ongoing substance abuse despite interventions and treatment efforts
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Severe mental illness that puts you or others at risk
  • Heresy or serious doctrinal deception despite correction
  • Total abandonment of marital or parental duties

In such grave cases, separating ourselves becomes warranted. We must prioritize our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being when others persist in toxic patterns. This may require permanantly severing ties, filing for divorce, or distancing ourselves for a time.

It can also become necessary if the relationship is causing you to develop bitterness, anxiety, or codependecy in harmful ways. As Romans 12:18 notes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” When another person’s choices make peace unattainable, letting go may be the wise option. However, this should still be handled with grace rather than vindictiveness.

Letting go with compassion

Even when we must walk away from a person or relationship, we are called to maintain a heart of compassion. This can be extremely difficult when we’ve been wronged. However, holding onto resentment will only breed more bitterness.

Rather than hateful words or actions, Jesus calls us to simply walk away when people reject truth and wisdom. As Matthew 10:14 says, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” We must trust God with dispensing perfect justice in the end.

Letting go with compassion does not mean enabling sin. Healthy boundaries should remain to discourage harmful behaviors from continuing. Severing a relationship does not imply severing all human dignity for that person either. We can still pray blessing over them rather than curses. If reconciliation becomes possible in the future, we should have open hearts. By God’s grace, even the most broken of relationships can be redeemed.

God Redeems All Things in Time

Despite our best efforts, some relationships do come to an end for a season or permanently in this age. Even when we steward relationships wisely, the other person’s free will makes restoration impossible at times. However, we can find comfort that God remains sovereign above it all. He will redeem every situation for His glory in the end.

As Romans 8:28 promises, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Any pain or loss we experience can be used by God to shape Christlike character and deepen compassion. We also must remember that this world is fleeting. A day will come when all brokenness will be healed and all tears will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4).

When we are united in heaven with our Father, strained relationships on earth will matter no more. By God’s grace, we will be capable of perfectly loving and forgiving those who once wronged us. Trust that God’s timing and purposes are perfect, even when we don’t understand them. If a relationship cannot be restored today, surrender it to the Lord. Let Him transform your pain into greater capacity to love as Jesus loves. The most difficult circumstances provide the opportunity to reflect God’s grace, mercy and redemption.


Giving up on someone we love should not be done lightly. However, with wisdom and discernment, we recognize that separation is sometimes necessary. As we have seen, the Bible provides principles for persevering in love, setting boundaries, attempting reconciliation, and letting go with compassion. Our goal must be reflecting the patience, mercy and forgiveness that Christ demonstrated to us. This requires deep dependence on Him, not our own limited strength.

No matter the situation, we can trust that God desires to redeem it for our good (Romans 8:28). If relationships fail in this age, take comfort that one day every tear will be wiped away. Until then, may we steward relationships with the grace, hope, compassion, and wisdom that only comes from Christ in us. He can empower us to love others as He has loved us.

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