Are you familiar with this word, and its modern usage? I was not, until recently. What does the word mean? Here are some definitions – Psychology Today: “Ghosting… is having someone that you believe cares about you, whether it be a friend or someone you are dating, disappear from contact without any explanation at all” (This Is Why Ghosting Hurts So Much by Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., psychologytoday.com). Urban Dictionary: “When a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice before hand” (urbandictionary.com). Wikipedia: “Ghosting is breaking off a relationship… by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate” (Wikipedia.org).
Let’s consider some who have been ghosted:
Some feel no sense of responsibility to an employer. They, without notice, cease showing up for work. In some cases, they leave their employers short-handed and in a difficult situation (cf. Proverbs 25:19).
I remember being taught to offer an employer at least two weeks’ notice. Some positions need even more notice.
Are there Biblical principles to consider? I believe that there are. Consider: “Therefore, what you want men to do to you, do also to them… (Matt. 7:12); “having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that… they may by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12); “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
2. Those Dated.
Some feel no sense of responsibility to those whom they date. Jennice Vilhaver has written, “Ghosting isn’t new – people have long done disappearing acts – but years ago this kind of behavior was limited to a certain type of scoundrel. In today’s dating culture being ghosted is a phenomenon that approximately 50 percent of men and women have experienced… Despite ghosting’s commonality, the emotional effects can be devastating, and particularly damaging to those who already have fragile self-esteem… ghosting can result in feelings of being disrespected, used and disposable” (psychologytoday.com).
Why do people ghost? “People who ghost are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t even thinking about how it makes the other person feel” (ibid). In other words, they are selfish.
Are there Biblical principles? I believe that there are. “Therefore, what you want men to do to you do also to them… (Matthew 7:12). “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Remember that this other person was made in the similitude of God (cf. James 3:9).
Some feel no sense of responsibility to friends. They are “fair-weathered friends.” They lack loyalty.
Are there Biblical principles to consider? I believe that there are. “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend…” (Proverbs 27:10). Friends should try to make each other better (cf. Proverbs 27:17). “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” (Matthew 7:12).
Some feel no sense of responsibility to family. They are “fair-weathered” family members. They are not loyal. They are not long-suffering or forgiving. Husbands and wives, fathers and mothers walk away. Think Kenny Rogers’ song, “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille, with four hungry children and a crop in the field” (Song: Lucille by Kenny Rogers). Children neglect and forsake parents.
Are there Biblical principles to consider? I believe that there are. There should be loyalty in marriage. “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). There are responsibilities that should be considered. Husbands and wives have responsibilities (e.g. Colossians 3:18-19). Fathers and mothers have responsibilities (e.g. Colossians 3:21; Titus 2:5). Children are to honor father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-2; Mark 7:9-12). I find only one exception to this (cf. Acts 4:19; 5:29). Love is need (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Forgiveness is needed (Colossians 3:12-13). Esau (Genesis 33), Joseph (Genesis 45, 50), and the father in the parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15) are great examples of how reconciliation should occur in families.
Some feel no sense of responsibility to their brethren. Others should serve them; they do not serve. If another upsets them, they quickly sever the relationship and avoid contact with the person.
Are there Biblical principles to consider? I believe that there are. We have responsibilities to one another (John 13:14; Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; James 5:19-20). We are to be helping one another to heaven. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Moreover, when offenses occur, both the offender and the offended have a responsibility to seek reconciliation (Matthew 5:23-24; Matthew 18:15-17). We are told, “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, longsuffering; bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Colossians 3:12-13).
6. The Church.
Some have no sense of responsibility or loyalty to the church, especially the local church. They have the consumer mentality. The church is there for them. They do not see themselves as part of the church. If something happens or is said that they disagree with, or do not like, they leave without a word, never to return. Problems and misunderstandings are not worked through, and discussed; they simply leave. Such instability hurts the church, and does not help bring about spiritual maturity.
Are there Biblical principles to consider? I believe that there are. The local church should work together as one body (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12). Each member should function as part of the body, not separate from it. Members of the body should seek to build up the body in love (Ephesians 4:16). Moreover, we should not hastily give up on each other. Paul did not hastily give up on the church at Corinth. He reasoned with them. He corrected them. He did not ghost them. He care too much to do that. Furthermore, if something is done or said that is considered to be wrong, there is a way to deal with such (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Jude 3). Ghosting is not the answer. Love demands more.