I am referring here to the blanking of someone. Specifically it is the non-response to every approach that a person makes to you. So telephone calls are not answered or responded to, e-mails, Facebook and WhatsApp similarly elicit no response and face-to-face meetings are avoided. Further, I am referring here to a consistent pattern of behaviour rather than the just a one-off incident.
Is there a time when blanking is appropriate? In 1 Corinthians 5:11 we read But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. These are Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinth. Does this mean that the blanking that I referred to earlier is appropriate in dealing with certain unrepentant professing Christians? To that I would answer “yes” and “no”. I say “yes” because there is to be a withdrawing from someone to show that they are no longer living in a way that is appropriate for a Christian. However, the person being blanked should clearly be aware why the withdrawal of contact is taking place. So it is a “no” because there is to be clear communication of why it is happening. In many ways this is the loving undertaking of the judgement of God in order to bring that person back to the LORD.
The ostracising that comes from personal hostility or is not explained is a different matter. This is purely selfish and very likely vindictive. If you are shunning someone and are not able to give a reason for doing so when asked then you are most likely in the wrong. There is no “loving your neighbour” in such an action.
Speaking from experience it is very painful to be on the end of such blanking where there is a continual resistance to replying to any communication. The cry from my heart so very often has been that I just longed to know why.
Oh LORD may I never shun anyone inappropriately.