Are You Lying When Leaving Without Saying “Goodbye”?

I recommend that elders, deacons, preachers, teachers, and other leaders have a “No Suicide Contract” Read: Preventing Leadership Suicide
[bctt tweet=”The sudden departure of a leader is shocking and hurtful. When it’s accompanied by anger and recruiting others to quit or leave, it’s devastating.” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

It’s not only shocking and hurtful, but it may also be dishonest.

Jacob was fed up with his father-in-law Laban. He worked seven years to marry Rachel and woke up with Leah. When Jacob confronted him about the deception, Laban said, “It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn” (Genesis 29:26, NKJV). Laban had neglected to tell Jacob their family rules.

That’s not surprising. Family rules are usually unconscious, unspoken, understood, and often contradictory.

According to Jacob, Laban had changed his wages ten times (Genesis 31:7). After instructions from the Lord to return to the land of his family, we read this in Genesis 31:20:

And Jacob stole away, unknown to Laban the Syrian, in that he did not tell him that he intended to flee (NKJV).

Moreover, Jacob deceived Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was running away (NIV).

Jacob was either stealing or lying by not letting his wives’ family know they were leaving.

When Laban caught up with Jacob and his family, he said,

What have you done, that you have stolen away unknown to (deceived, NIV) me, and carried away my daughters like captives taken with the sword? Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from (deceive, NIV) me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp? And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing (Genesis 31:26-28).

It’s disrespectful to leave people you love without saying goodbye. A child runs away from home. A husband or wife leaves without warning, reason, or destination. An elder resigns without informing the other elders. A deacon quits with no one to do his work.

  • What does that say about the relationship with fellow workers?
  • How does that help the unity of the family?
  • Who picks up the load of the departing person?
  • Why did they leave?
  • Did I do something to cause this?
  • Where are the keys and supplies to do the work he’s been doing?
  • Is there something wrong in his life?
  • I would liked to have said, “Thank you,” and “Goodbye.”
  • I thought we were friends and he would’ve let me know.
  • I guess I wasn’t important after all.
[bctt tweet=”It’s disrespectful to leave people you love without saying goodbye.” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

Jesus prepared His followers over and over again. Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22, 23; Matthew 20:17-19; Matthew 26:2, 26:19-25, 31-35; John 12:7, 8, 23-33; John 14:1-6; John 15:13-15; John 16:5-33; John 17:1-26

His disciples didn’t understand what He was saying. But after His death, they understood.

Jesus set the example. Tell people when you plan to leave.

Don’t deceive people by not saying a clear goodbye.

What are some good ways you have seen people leave?


(Visited 1,777 times, 79 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

5 Responses to “Are You Lying When Leaving Without Saying “Goodbye”?

  • Charlie Harrison
    3 years ago


    While your point is clear, and valid, your choice of passages and the application thereof need further consideration.

    Charlie Harrison

    • Jerrie W. Barber
      3 years ago


      Thank you.

      Tell me more.

  • Leon Cole
    3 years ago

    I agree with the basic thesis but at one place where I preached (one of my longest tenures) I was not permitted to say goodby or even relate where I was going or thank the congregation and the elders for the time spent there. I was told it would be too emotional. I still have a bad taste in my mouth about that.

    • Jerrie Barber
      3 years ago


      This is like burying a relative without a funeral.

      I regret that happened.

  • Donald Shull
    3 years ago

    When I was leaving a small religious college for another, I was supposed to have an exit interview with the president. The Dean discouraged me from doing so , on the grounds I would be subject to insult and brow beating. I took his advice.

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