the weblog of Alan Knox

Saying Goodbye

Posted by on Aug 9, 2010 in discipleship | 5 comments

Saying Goodbye

There is a difficulty in building community: saying goodbye. This week, we say goodbye to several very good friends. All of them have had a tremendous impact on our family, from me and my wife to our two children.

Whenever we share our life with other people, it become extremely difficult to say goodbye.

With superficial relationships, it is much easier to say goodbye.

In our context (with a seminary close by) saying goodbye comes more often than we would like. That makes it tempting to stop building close relationships. Of course, then, we would miss so much that God is doing in our lives through so many different people.

So, when necessary – when God moves people away from here – we must say goodbye… for now. We stay in touch as much as possible. And, we miss one another. We know we will see one another again, and we hope that it’s soon.

But, that doesn’t make the pain go away… or make saying goodbye any easier.


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  1. 8-9-2010

    I truly believe that this is the way things should be. Reading Acts 20, when Paul says goodbye to the Ephesian elders, I am always impacted by the love and the pain that we read there. It’s not easy, but shunning it for the sake of not suffering would not be living the communal life God wants us to live.

  2. 8-9-2010


    I think Maël hits the bullseye with his comment. Thirty years ago, when leaving a congregation, the grief my wife and I experienced, in many ways, we agreed, that it was worse than losing a family member. The pain was mutual as indicated by the teary faces of the congregation.

    One of the reasons I am convinced that elders ought to be recognized from within a congregation. The hiatus caused by parting takes years to overcome, on both sides of the equation.

  3. 8-9-2010

    Yes, I agree. The pain of separation is difficult, but it’s much worse to go through life isolated from the life of Christ in one another. When we live in the Spirit, community is not an option.


  4. 8-10-2010

    Oh, I could write a book here! We have often been the ones leaving or moving away, and we have noticed a distinct pattern: those who have lived where they lived all their lives are less likely to build true relationship with us as new believers in their lives than those who have ever moved. I don’t want to be impatient or overwhelm someone, but many times in my mind I want to say, “people, we don’t have time for superficial!” Or as you say it so much better, “…community is not an option.”

  5. 8-10-2010

    It must be hard to say goodbye to a family member. I’m sure it feels like a hole has been left inside. But God has blessed you tremendously in giving you a great, big family to lean on and love. People will see the love you have for each other and they will be drawn to it. They will become a part of your community and your family will grow. It’s sad to see friends leave but be encouraged by the work you know God will continue to do!