Can two walk together except they be agreed? Amos 3v3
I have spoken a lot about how to get along with each other, but what about those relationships that are questionable. You know the ones that your friends and family can see are no good for you, but you carry on anyway. There are many of us (including myself) who have somewhere down the path of life experienced a toxic relationship, I’m not just talking about romantic relationships but platonic ones too. Nevertheless we still hold on to these relationships for our own particular reasons.
What is a toxic relationship? My definition would be the opposite of a healthy/growth orientated one. If someone depletes you of energy, resources and self esteem, I believe that is a toxic relationship. If the behaviours of one or both partners are emotionally and/or physically damaging to the other, I believe that is a toxic relationship.
The bible is a historical record of Gods relationship with the children of Israel, he often refers to himself as their husband and would describe them as an adulterous nation because they went after other gods and did not walk according to the commandments that he gave them. Why am I mentioning this? To suggest that maybe something as simple as walking in agreement with each other is the key to successful relationships. In Exodus God made a covenant with his people and the people of Israel agreed to walk according to his commands and statutes. Think of some of the best relationships that you have in your life, don’t you get along because you agree with each other and have many things in common? When a couple gets married, they agree to vows, the moment a person goes against those vows made there are problems. If you enter into a contract with an employer, banker, mobile phone company, that contract is an agreement and once it is breeched, issues follow. The point I’m making here is that if a covenant (agreement/contract) is important to the creator of heaven and earth, it should be to us also. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no; anything beyond this is comes from the evil one” Matthew 5v37. In other words mean what you say or don’t make a vow at all if you’re not going to keep it.
If you are in a relationship with someone and you tell them you don’t like sugar, yet they keep putting sugar in your tea, do you think that person likes or even loves you? This is a trivial example but it is demonstrated in different ways within toxic relationships. So why is it that we stay in relationships with people who continue to do the things that we have expressed that we don’t like? We really should (if you don’t already) embrace and cherish the powers of discernment and take wise counsel from those around you. If you trust your friends and family and they are against a person in your midst, there may be some truth to what they are saying. I have certainly come to learn that the hard way. There are exceptions…some people will say horrible things because they are miserable and don’t want you to be happy, but judge that from experience, if you know that the people around you are a bunch of liars then you have no business being around them let alone listening to them. I don’t always think its healthy to cut people off for every little thing but there are some reasons where its necessary. So do you have a toxic person in your life? Or are YOU that toxic person? Here are some ways to tell, a toxic person is as follows;
Someone who physically harms you or even causes other people to harm you (check out the Honey trap murder).
A person who verbally abuses you (constantly puts you down) or your family. You are not allowed to grow or change around this person.
They are always negative. This type of person can be so draining after a while even if you try to enthuse them it doesn’t work. You are uncomfortable being yourself around this person.
Someone who uses you! They don’t know your number unless they need something from you. They are super selfish and its all about them and never about you.
They betray your trust. Cheating, stealing, telling your secrets to people who have no business knowing. They may be ok one on one but as soon as other people are around they will turn on you.
I’m sure there are more traits but these were all I could think of right now. Sometimes its hard to break away from these people because they can be so ‘nice’ in other areas. They may give you a black eye and then say how much they love you afterwards. They may have told all your secrets but they were the only one that turned up for your birthday. This is why I say use your powers of discernment and if the good outweighs the bad then keep them around if the love is one sided (only coming from you) then you should probably walk away. Any one who knows me knows I’m an open person, who likes to speak her mind, maybe a little too much! If someone does something you don’t like – tell them! Don’t hold it in your heart. “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives. Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin” Leviticus 19v17.
Don’t get me wrong we all have different upbringings so what comes natural to you may not come natural to me. We learn a lot through relationships, but how long do we give a person to learn? I believe that we should tell the person when they do wrong so that they can correct themselves (open rebuke), but if the person doesn’t listen then its up to you if you want to endure with that person. Some people say that once you have learnt a particular lesson with the people in your life that relationship ends. Bottom line is people that are for you will always be there for you. I once heard a preacher say “Don’t be sad or troubled when someone just ups and leaves you, because if they were meant to stay they couldn’t leave and if they were meant to leave they couldn’t stay” (T.D. Jakes).