To Take Leave

I’ve wondered multiple times, upon hearing about breakups, what ought to distinguish a Christian breakup from a pagan one. What differs in dealing with self, and what differs in dealing with the other party? Ferdinand Hui has written some on the matter:

If we really loved the other person, then we really need to have the idea of helping them in mind… helping the other grow, develop – and to get over you. Sometimes, there is the temptation to be “unforgettable and irreplaceable” to the other… that one might get jealous if they got over you too quickly, or found someone else. That is selfish in the extreme. Failing to acknowledge the other party’s mourning is also quite appalling. If there really was a relationship, the loss should be painful. Accepting the validity of one’s own pain and suffering is appropriate; accepting the validity of the other’s is equally important.

Of course, there’s one sense in which people, being unique individuals, are irreplaceable. But they’re irreplaceable as people, not as significant others whom all who come after must live up to in the same ways. Does love take exactly the same shape? Of course not, just as art that depicts love doesn’t take exactly the same shape or even the same genre. The apostle Paul wrote,

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col. 2.16–17)

Likewise, love here is a real thing, yet it’s a shadow of the reality found fully in Christ. So how do we redeem the time?


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