What Saying Goodbye Taught Me About the Gospel

What does saying goodbye to your cat have to do with the Gospel? Guest blogger Jenny Rose Curtis reflects:

Have you ever had to say goodbye? The kind of goodbye that leaves you with an awful sort of emptiness you can’t shake?

As silly as it sounds, one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever faced was when I took my cat to the no-kill shelter.

My dad drove. I sat in the passenger’s seat and held Smokey’s makeshift cage: two laundry baskets duct-taped shut. My dad broke the silence with an occasional compassionate word or a pat on the shoulder.

I just cried.

We parked and Dad went inside to fill out paperwork. I was alone with my cat. I could tell her how much I would miss her and how sorry I was for abandoning her. Judge me if you want, but if I didn’t tell her, who would? She was mean, lazy, and not quite beautiful enough to make up for it.

SMokey hanging out dec 7, 2009 (2)
Smokey doing her Bible reading

Silent tears turned into muffled sobs.

Did I mention I was a sophomore in college?

My dad came back to the car and together we took Smokey inside the shelter. A volunteer smiled and assured me Smokey would be comfortable there.

“And you can always visit her, you know,” she said.

But I never did.

I don’t know for sure why. It could be because immediately cutting things off is easier than slowly letting go. Whatever the reason, I have a theory:

Goodbyes are the worst.

No, really, they are. How many times have you seen a soul crushed by division?

A child sobbing over his parents’ divorce? A dozen families picking up the pieces after a church split? A mom waiting up every night hoping her runaway daughter will come home?

In fact, I think my fear of goodbyes is the reason I keep people at a distance. Subconsciously, I’ve bought into the lie that if I don’t let people in, it won’t hurt when they go.

As a pastor’s kid, I’ve seen so many people walk away. Sometimes with full blessing, sometimes with a nice stab in the back. It can be hard to know who to trust.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. Not all goodbyes are bad. Sometimes you have to let go of that toxic relationship. Sometimes the loving thing to do is to say sayonara to that bad influence. Those are necessary goodbyes.

But broken relationships weren’t God’s original design.

We weren’t made for them—and I think that’s why goodbye still hurts. Even when it’s right. Even when it’s healthy.

But before you cry foul on my theory and say it’s just my Nine showing—the Nine personality’s greatest fear, according to the Enneagram, is loss and separation—let me offer some biblical evidence for why goodbyes are terrible and should burn forever.

When Satan deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, the first thing that happened was separation—death. The punishment for disobedience was physical death, yes, but it was more. It was spiritual death, too.

Paul talks about this in his letter to the Roman Christians:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.

 

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8.

Disobedience brought the first goodbye. Adam and Eve’s walks with God in the cool of the evening stopped. Their own sin forced them out of God’s presence. And that spiritual and relational distance passed from generation to generation. To you and to me.

Then Jesus came.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:21-22.

Jesus Christ abolished history’s ugliest farewell and reconciled us to the Father. If you’ve trusted in Christ alone, surrendered to Him as Master of your life, and turned away from disobedience, then you’re no longer God’s enemy. You’re His friend!

Ultimately, God made us for unity and intimacy. And while we can’t align with sin or doctrinal error, He still calls us to strive for peace—peace with Him and peace with others.

One day, we’ll experience that peace in its fullness. No more severed friendships. No more divisions. No more petty drama or tragic betrayals. Just unity through Jesus Christ, our beautiful Hello Again.

Honestly, that’s one of the things I look forward to most about Heaven. And yeah, that’s probably my Nine showing.

-Jenny Rose

Jenny Rose profile

Jenny Rose Curtis loves Jesus and people—though if she’s honest, she loses her energy for the latter after 8 p.m. A proud PK, she serves on her church’s worship team, teaches Sunday school and mentors young women. She’s also an editor, writer, and podcast host at Charisma Media. Find her on Twitter @JRCurtis1992. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, take a peek into the zany recesses of her mind @OoCWithJR.

7 thoughts on “What Saying Goodbye Taught Me About the Gospel

  1. One thing we know from the Bible is Adam and Eve did not leave the presence of God. Even though the couple were expelled from the Garden of Eden, the fact that Cain had to leave the presence of God indicates that they were still living in God’s presence.

    “Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” (Genesis 4:16)

    You are correct that you should not align with sin, but beware of feeling as if you are without sin.

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    1. Jenny Rose says: “Hey Kathryn! Thanks for your comment. You make a really good point about Cain. I definitely could have phrased what I meant better, since God’s presence (manifested by His favor and blessing) still dwelled in the land of Eden, not just the Garden. And while Adam and Eve had God’s promised forgiveness (ultimately fulfilled in Christ), Cain did not get that. My point remains, though, that Adam and Eve’s disobedience separated them from God, their former peace with God was broken, and only Jesus’ death and resurrection could fix that. But I do appreciate your desire for accuracy in language, and I agree that it’s important.

      I also agree that as we keep ourselves set apart for Christ that we should never think we are without sin. Refusing to align with sin and doctrinal error should always be done with humility, not arrogance or self-righteousness. Thanks again and God bless you!!”

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