Have you ever been in a toxic relationship with someone? Not just a romantic one, but even a friendship or family relationship that just turned really bad?
The Difference in Normal and Toxic
I am not one to place people in a box and say, “Oh, you are toxic” or “that person is a sociopath.” From my personal experience, people have good and bad habits. We all do. There can be people whom you spend time with who are pretty normal most of the time, yet they sometimes have crazy moments. That’s normal.
When do you know when a relationship is toxic, though? Or, even more, when is it wise to leave an unhealthy relationship/friendship? I have been learning how to love people from within a boundary but also without expectation. This is not always easy, firstly, because people don’t like boundaries (when you say “no” to them). On top of that, sometimes people may show you love with expectation.
The truth is that love is a verb. Love does something. Yet the intention behind the action is always a key factor. The health or toxicity of a relationship lies in the motive.
The “People Factor”
There are some friendships/relationships that may come to a necessary end, and as difficult as that may be, they are very necessary for our personal growth. In fact, getting certain relationships out of the way creates space for others to speak into your life.
Related Post: Four Secrets to Developing Stronger Friendships
Imagine being stuck in a room. Surrounded by all the people in your life (family and friends) who are all shouting at you what they think you should do with your life. That sounds like quite the nightmare. Yet this is what many people seem to do in real life. We tend to run from one person to another, in order to get advice or to get our emotional needs met. It’s the “people factor.” Relationships enrich our lives.
A lot of people can shout a lot of things at us without overly effecting us. Some relationships, however, are more intimate, and we should scrutinize them more closely, for example, a potential business partner or spouse. I have heard that the person you decide to marry and spend your life with is the person you will start to look most like as the years progress. These important positions in your life should be treated with care and consideration, with much prayer and much wisdom. More than all that, trusting God in the process is the key factor. God sees the heart of people while we can only see the outward appearance.
Burning bridges with people, is definitely not something that I would recommend; However, there are some cases where you will feel peace about moving on. Keep seeking God in these relationships and allow Him to minister to you, deeply. Trust Him. He has your best intentions at heart, even when other people don’t.
Seeking God in Relationships
It’s important to remember that Jesus died for:
- Your healing
- Your emotional well-being
- Your provision to be met
- Your sins to be forgiven
- Your deliverance from out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His Son (Colossians 2)
- Your relationships to be healthy and to be a blessing to you, as well as to others
We tend to focus on the fact that Jesus died for our sins, and we set aside the fact that all healing has been covered by His death. Receive it. Know your value, worth, and position as a child of God. Wait for God’s best plan for you instead of settling for unhealthy relationships out of fear and desperation. His perfect love casts out all fear.
When your relationships are healthy, you will be able to receive love more freely from Jesus and give love to those around you because you understand your worth and value is found in Christ. Also, when your expectation is in God rather then people, you will be able to forgive more easily and show grace because you are continually receiving grace from God.
I pray that you would allow God to minister to you in this area of healthy relationships, so your life may be filled with the love and the grace of God, daily, which will in turn impact your relationships, for the better.