If you haven’t already, one day you will face truly toxic people in your life. For some, it could be a relative and for others is may be through friendships or toxic people at work. But the amount of evil in our world guarantees this inevitability. However, God calls us to love all people, good and evil. Also, to fulfill our mission as Christians to share the gospel. How do we protect ourselves from the toxic traits while also saving the lost? At what point do we call it quits and walk away to protect ourselves, our family, or our friends. There is an answer as we look to Christ, our example, for our next steps. We will provide the definition of toxic people, their traits, signs, and when it is best to walk away.
Toxic People in your life, or are they?
The important thing is to truly know in our hearts that someone is actually toxic or not. The world is full of evil and each of us is no cleaner than the next person; everyone deserves a chance. But the truly toxic are those beyond your help. Although they may turn to God one day in their lives, this may not be their season of change. They are too ruled by the earthly things to see the heavenly. But our first reaction to any relationship should always start with prayer, love, and understanding.
We cannot assume anyone’s circumstances, and even if you are gifted with discernment, we are not God and do not know the true intention of someone’s heart. We have to know what a truly toxic person looks like because we never want to write someone off who may only be lashing out from pain.
Truly Toxic People Traits
Truly toxic people are those who come between you and God. The lost will always question you, but toxicity is a plague that tries to reach and tear you away from the most important things in your life. It tries to change you from who you are into what it wants you to become. This plague will have you questioning your dedication to God and replace it with worldly things like ego, lust, greed, and self-centeredness. Anyone can suffer from these things, in fact, that is our goal as Christians is to show others the true path to happiness. But if someone is pulling you away from God, it is time to seek assistance and distance.
A person who is hurting may also lash out, but only out of the pain they feel. Their intentions are not to tear you down but to make themselves feel better. It isn’t a part of their character to have malice intent, they simply have nowhere else to turn. We are not promised that the path to helping others to redemption will be easy, and their words and actions may hurt you deeply. But if they are more consumed with stopping the pain than tearing you away from God, this is not a toxic relationship. It is a mission for their salvation.
Effect on others
A person who is toxic to one Christian may not be toxic to another. It is about the strength in your relationship. That is why a pastor or elder in your church are excellent sources or guidance and help in times like these because there is often little that can destroy their relationship with God. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but one person’s lost cause in another person’s mission.
With that being said, parents have to look at toxicity in a completely different light. My children are still very impressionable and often will believe things from any adult, so as the spiritual leader of my home, I must protect them with my own knowledge, wisdom and faith. Someone who comes into your home to leave an un-Godly impression on children doesn’t belong in your home. As parents, our first concern is to God, then our spouse and children. In these situations where I feel led to help, I rely on my spiritual armor, outside the home and separate from my children, to share God’s message. In these cases, I stand firm in my faith and allow them to walk away from me, if they choose.
We are not to use “toxicity” as an excuse to walk away from those who are hurting, stubborn, or misled. A toxic person is someone who negatively impacts your mission for God. That mission includes your own salvation, the protection of your family, and the well-being of your church family. Christianity is not meant to be easy, and our mission is not always a cleared path to walk. If you deem someone is too toxic to continue with, consider reaching out for help or finding someone that may be more prepared to handle that person. It isn’t always your spiritual maturity but can also be your closeness to the person or their current situation.
The key point is that even Jesus had to walk away at times. But He never walked away from the opportunity to love someone. Loving your enemy is never easy but it puts you further on your path to Christlikeness. Even if we do not change someone’s life that moment, we plant a seed for God to grow. It may take a person a lifetime to come back and repent for their toxic nature, but everyone is loved by God, and no one is beyond redemption. But it won’t always be you to lead them. Go to God in prayer, ask for peace and wisdom, and let Him lead your next steps.
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
but an enemy multiplies kisses.