Tag Archives: Biblical fools

Toxic Tuesday: Flashing Billboards On My Forehead

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“I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

Philip Yancey

Conflicts: Dysfunctional. Abusive. Boundaryless. They can happen to anyone including Jesus followers who daily spend purposeful time with God through reading the scriptures, in-depth Bible study and consistent prayer. You may be a godly person and a good neighbor, boss, employee, co-worker, parent, spouse, child, sibling, relative or friend finding yourself in an unwanted and uncalled for difficult relationship or circumstance.

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I have had relationships in which I interceded for the other person through prayer by asking Jesus to heal them of their dysfunction, mental illness or sin. Most scriptural records of Jesus healing a person were instant, complete and permanent. Even though the person I prayed for had not asked for the help or healing and I could not physically take them to Jesus; I could spiritually bring them before Jesus.

I previously witnessed Jesus provide in ways that seemed impossible to me relationally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and even legally. He is so like that. When I have been at my wit’s end believing there was no possible way, no hope, no healing, no relief, no safety to overcome an obstacle; Jesus did the impossible. My mind had not previously conceived what He chose to do on my behalf. It was so out of the box that only He could have done it. There lies the beauty; Jesus has no box and I cannot put Him in one. Whoop — whoop!

That being exclaimed, I must also add that I have known Jesus long enough to realize not all prayers are fulfilled the way I wish, in my timing, or sometimes they may not be answered in my lifetime and I know I’ll have to wait until heaven to see how it is eventually answered. My heart may sometimes doubt Jesus heard my prayer but my mind always knows better. He hears, remembers and acts. Always.

If you use Pinterest, the online bulletin/pin board, you have likely read quotes about trusting your heart: “There is no instinct like that of the heart.”

“Trust your heart. What is true feels good. What is false causes doubt.” – Monica De Liz.

“Always listen to your heart.”

“When you can’t believe your eyes you can always trust your heart.”

“Trust your heart and you will be with the one you love” -Aunt Wu.

Here is what trumps all these quotes: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV). Our hearts need to be established in Christ first and then scripture tells us not to trust in our heart, but with all of our heart, trust in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV).

I knew Jesus was capable of healing the person I was praying for. Scripture told me of His great power and; moreover, scripture states the power is for us. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV). I have longed for this kind of power to be exerted into the heart, soul, mind and strength of someone I knew on multiple occasions. The bottom line was they had to want it and believe Him for it. When they did not —I was not quick to give up on them. I’m stubborn like that.

Often when I sense God has released me from relationally reaching out to someone and has shown me the exit door from a dysfunctional, abusive or boundaryless relationship; I usually look for a detour and go back for the person. I find myself wondering, “Have I done everything I can?” I do not want to question if there was possibly something else that would have worked. I continue to pray and ask if there is please, another way. I must know I did everything I could and when I look back; have no regrets. If I am going to error I can live with erring in faith but I could not live with erring in what was convenient. I am capable of missing the proverbial boat when it comes to discerning the voice or the will of God and I want to make certain I clearly understand His heart and will for the present concern.

On the other hand, I have a history of allowing anger (toxicity) to be taken out on me so when it comes up in a relationship it feels natural but I know God is calling me to recognize and respond to it in a biblical way. This is anything but easy for me.

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Sometimes I imagine I have a flashing sign on my forehead that reads, “Easy to Manipulate: Free Test Try” or perchance “Boundaryless: Trespass without caution.” God keeps the lessons in these areas coming at a steady pace and He is determined to teach me how to soar by handling the issue without becoming nervous, shaky, lightheaded, heart pounding out of my chest or; as in my most recent lesson, feeling like Icy Hot was rubbed on my chest. I never experienced this sensation during a difficult confrontation and fortunately was able to laugh at myself when the conversation had finished. Icy Hot — seriously — I never knew!

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Thankfully, God is a patient teacher who does not give me a failing grade. He just keeps teaching me new applications and giving me new situations in which to work them out. God has also given me a godly and humorous private tutor who happens to be an Ace when it comes to practical application. God is very serious about me learning this lesson and passing on to you what I learn. I must add that these lessons are not easy and are sometimes painful. To quote Beth Moore from a lesson in Daniel: Lives of Integrity, “You want to learn this lesson in the classroom and not on a field trip.” I imagine I have more field trips logged than the average student.

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See previous Toxic Tuesday posts on toxic relationships, or what the Bible refers to as relationships with fools. Until then; if you, like me, have a flashing billboard on your forehead — turn it off! And keep clear of Icy Hot.

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5 Indicators: A Jerk or a Wicked Heart? There is a Difference

5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart

by Leslie Vernick

As Christian counselors, pastors and people helpers we often have a hard time discerning between an evil heart and an ordinary sinner who messes up, who isn’t perfect, and full of weakness and sin.

I think one of the reasons we don’t “see” evil is because we find it so difficult to believe that evil individuals actually exist. We can’t imagine someone deceiving us with no conscience, hurting others with no remorse, spinning outrageous fabrications to ruin someone’s reputation, or pretending he or she is spiritually committed yet has no fear of God before his or her eyes.

The Bible clearly tells us that among God’s people there are wolves that wear sheep’s clothing (Jeremiah 23:14; Titus 1:10; Revelations 2:2). It’s true that every human heart is inclined toward sin (Romans 3:23), and that includes evil (Genesis 8:21; James 1:4). We all miss God’ mark of moral perfection. However, most ordinary sinners do not happily indulge evil urges, nor do we feel good about having them. We feel ashamed and guilty, rightly so (Romans 7:19–21). These things are not true of the evil heart.

Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart.  If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

1. Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13;16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words.

But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4;59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

3. Evil hearts crave and demand control, and their highest authority is their own self-reference.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They useScripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9;Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).

4. Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card.

They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

5. Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)

If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on. You must name evil for what it is. The longer you try to reason with them or show mercy towards them, the more you, as the Christian counselor, will become a pawn in his or her game.

They want you to believe that:

1. Their horrible actions should have no serious or painful consequences.

When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

The Bible warns us saying, “But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 26:10).

The Bible tells us that talking doesn’t wake up evil people, but painful consequences might. Jesus didn’t wake up the Pharisee’s with his talk nor did God’s counsel impact Cain (Genesis 4). In addition, the Bible shows us that when someone is truly sorry for the pain they have caused, he or she is eager to make amends to those they have harmed by their sin (see Zacchaeus’ response when he repented of his greed in Luke 19).

Tim Keller writes, “If you have been the victim of a heinous crime. If you have suffered violence, and the perpetrator (or even the judge) says, ‘Sorry, can’t we just let it go?’ You would say, ‘No, that would be an injustice.’ Your refusal would rightly have nothing to do with bitterness or vengeance. If you have been badly wronged, you know that saying sorry is never enough. Something else is required—some kind of costly payment must be made to put things right.”1

As Biblical counselors let’s not collude with the evil one by turning our attention to the victim, requiring her to forgive, to forget, to trust again when there has been no evidence of inner change. Proverbs says, “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips” (Proverbs. 25:19). It’s foolishness.

The evil person will also try to get you to believe

2. That if I talk like a gospel-believing Christian I am one, even if my actions don’t line up with my talk.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

The Bible has some strong words for those whose actions do not match their talk (1 John 3:17,18; Jeremiah 7:8,10; James 1:22, 26). John the Baptist said it best when he admonished the religious leaders, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (Luke 3:8).

If week after week you hear the talk but there is no change in the walk, you have every reason to question someone’s relationship with God.

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled (Hebrews 5:14).

When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or that “he’s not that bad” or “that he’s really sorry” or “that he’s changing” when, in fact, he is not.

Daniel says, “[T]he wicked will continue to be wicked” (Daniel 12:10), which begs the question, do you think an evil person can really change?

[1] Tim Keller, Jesus the King, page 172

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The Association of Biblical Counselors (ABC) exists to encourage, equip, and empower people everywhere to live and counsel the Word, applying the Gospel to the whole experience of life.

Encourage: ABC provides a fellowship of believers committed to life transformation through the Living Word.

Equip: ABC promotes training in biblical counseling and points to resources that deal biblically with all of the issues of life.

Empower: ABC provides excellent materials for growth in Christ and for use in effective biblical counseling.

To find out more, visit the Association of Biblical Counselors website.

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They hate you because they hate Jesus in you.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18 (NIV)

They cannot tolerate your calmness in the storm, your resolve to listen only to your Savior in trust and obedience, and your ability to not allow their arrows to penetrate your heart, soul, mind and strength. Little does the abusive person know; Jesus is deflecting the arrows from ever reaching you as your gaze it set on Him.

Mindset of abusive people:
self control or lack thereof

 

 

 

Toxic Tuesday: It is Real You are Write

 TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Be encouraged. You are real, what is happening to you is real and you need to write it down.

This life is full of different people with different personalities. No two are exactly alike which makes having multiple friends so much fun; most of the time, but can also make living with a family member difficult; sometimes. We need to believe the habits and personality of the other person; good, bad, ugly, funny, disgusting, wonderfully sweet or completely dysfunctional are here to stay. Live with it! Mostly. There is no perfection this side of heaven and if we are going to get bent out of shape over every little disagreement, idiosyncrasy, or sin we will soon find ourselves friendless or family less. Relationship broke, bankrupt, to the point we won’t be able to talk to the friend in the mirror because they sin too. What a lonely miserable existence.

Our goal should not be attempting to modify someone else’s behavior to fit our needs, our likes, or our preconceived judgments of them. Another mistake we can make is setting out to NOT be like her, or him, or that person or so-and-so. Doing this can leave us so caught up in comparisons we forget there is no worthy or beneficial comparison except for Jesus Christ. Have you spent years trying to NOT be like a certain person; a parent, a sibling, a child, your spouse, a friend, a co-worker or a relative? Has it worked? If you just realized this is exactly what you have been doing; feel the freedom of never having to do it again! Set your mind on Christ.

Philippians 2:5 (NIV) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

 Philippians 4:7 (NIV) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 11:1-2 (NIV) A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (This verse is a prophesy of the promised Messiah—Jesus Christ.)
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

The only person that we have any power to change is us and this can prove difficult for most of us because if we are honest; we tend to be comfortable with who we are, how we behave and how we respond to others. This is why staying in God’s word—the scriptures and praying are essential to believers. We must allow God access to our heart, soul, mind and strength; inviting Him to show us how to think and act like His one and only son, Jesus Christ. You can be sure His heart and will is for you to be more like Jesus. God will not say, “No.” This will be a big, “Yes!”

Now that we have settled how to behave in healthy, normal, everyday relationships by keeping Jesus our focus; I will turn our attention to toxic relationships; where we also must keep Jesus our focus. If you are in a toxic relationship you can easily draw the line between normal and toxic. You know to what I am referring. This is where we insert a different standard: a biblical standard.

I blogged about the power in numbers and the importance of church community as a lead up to intervention for last week’s Toxic Tuesday. We find precedence throughout scripture for confrontation as a means to help, discipline, and show good will. God uses people to do this. He has used me to do this and believe me; I would much rather He sent an angel for the job. Instead of an angel God sent two helpers, a mentor and a friend, to lovingly show power and accountability in numbers.

The books of the prophets in the Old Testament give numerous examples of confrontation and discipline. My personal favorite is when Nathan rebukes King David. If you do not know the story of 2 Samuel 12 you need to read it. It is full of lust, deceit, impregnating another man’s wife, war, murder, betrayal (Chapter 16) and retribution that led to the death of King David’s son. America has nothing on God for He wrote the first Soap Opera, “All My Children” and the daytime drama should have to pay royalties to God for using the title. The Bible is anything but boring. The reason this rebuke is my favorite lies in King David’s reply, “I have sinned against the LORD.” He confessed, manned up, took the discipline and did not question the Lord. David knew his poor/sinful choices had consequences. He knew he did not want to remain the type of person he had become. How do I know this? Read Psalm 51. David wrote this when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

The Bible offers more examples of intervention. God used Jethro to advise Moses in Exodus 19. God provided Moses to lead the people of Israel which led to confrontation with the people of Israel in Exodus 32; and in Exodus 33 Moses intercedes to the Lord for Israel. God placed priests and teachers in the community to teach, guide, and provide discipline as a means to bring change to His people—not because God is holding out on us or wants us to have a boring life. No! It’s the exact opposite. He wants us to have life to the fullest; the safest, the best, the most purposeful with the most influence.

Christ left us a special gift; the church—our community of helpers.

Matthew 18:15-20 (MSG)  “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

If you are safe in doing so, you can talk to your toxic person but chances are you have done this. Most likely you have done this multiple times. Seeking counseling; let me rephrase this, getting your toxic person to agree to counseling and actually following through with attendance can prove impossible in many cases. Most often they have no other point of reference other than themselves. Sincere empathy does not exist for them. This is where intervention comes in to the mix. You need not spend your life angry or frustrated as you nag, plead, or beg for understanding. I do not want you to sink to despair when boundaries are not respected and change does not come. Remember the important rule for dealing with toxic people/fools. Practice self-control over your words, reactions and emotions. Stay calm.

Is there anyone who knows about your difficult relationship? I have found the only thing worse than living in a lonely, one-sided toxic relationship is living it in secret. It took me years to reveal my toxic relationship to anyone. It was a mistake and I wish I had sought help earlier. Everything is worse when you are alone. You need a friend and/or a confidant; a listening ear—someone to pray for you. A family member will work if that is all you have; a parent, sibling or cousin. Just remember it will become emotionally heavier for them in a different way than it will for a friend. A licensed counselor is a terrific option. Your pastor or someone on staff at your church might be a safe starting place, but be aware that many churches have NO training in dealing with abusers, domestic violence, or personality disorders; and let’s face it…many abusers have personality disorders.  Your pastor may know and recommend you to someone who has walked the same road as you. This would be a gift from God.

Pray about this. If you need to seek such a person please do so this week.

Last week I said would share an example this week of a time when I had to do an intervention; however, I am finding that I am as long winded when I blog as when I speak so I will continue this next Tuesday.

The intervention idea was presented to me as a way to bring a person to repentance, save a relationship, and provide emotional healing.  It was the idea of a well-respected Christian leader. He and his wife were dear friends and mentors to me and to my toxic person. The advice came from him through a godly Christian doctor/psychologist. I was encouraged to write out my concerns (revolving around multiple sin and mental health issues), which I wrote in chronological order, along with my expectations, goals and my requirement that the person seek godly professional help; immediately. I should also add that I had a different Christian doctor blast me for writing such a letter. For me it was the best way to make a difficult situation real. If you are in relationship with a fool who would like you to believe YOU are the ONLY problem with the relationship; I know you understand needing it to be real. It is very healing to write it on paper or computer. It makes it real. It shows problems and patterns. Usually you forget, or minimize what you’ve been through because you often hear that you are ‘over reacting’, or that nothing you ‘think or say is real’. Writing it down shows IT IS real, it did happen, you aren’t over reacting.

If you are in an unsafe relationship consider drafting your letter in an email and sending it to yourself. You can create a second email address if necessary. There is no need to save it to your computer or keep it in a notebook. If you have concern about typing it on your own computer; you can make a trip to the public library and use its computer.

I continue to pray for you.

Toxic People

     TOXIC TUESDAY warning

          In an earlier post, Flashing Billboards on My Forehead, I began explaining my history of unhealthy relationship issues and how I know God is calling me to recognize and respond to them in a biblical way.  I have not always been a beacon of healthiness myself. When I became serious about a daily relationship with my Savior and began spending time in the scriptures and in prayer something extraordinary happened; I invited Christ to show me my sin. My unhealthy ways of thinking, talking and interacting with others. And do you know what happened? I began to be convicted in my heart, soul, mind and strength. I acknowledged the problem, repented of it, asked Jesus to heal it and replaced the empty healed place with something good leaving no room for the problem to return. This is a continual process.  As my son, A.J., articulated this week while we were studying Jesus the One and Only, “Jesus was born naturally perfect.” To which my son Colson replied, “Man, I wish we could have been born that way. We were born sinful.” Yep, every single one of us. That is why we need Jesus the One and Only!

Here is my continuation:

When prayers were not answered in a way I could detect I turned to reputable Christian books on being a peacemaker, developing healthy relationships, remaining purposeful in prayer and resolving conflicts biblically but they were of no use. These books are beneficial for most people living in a sinful world when interacting with mentally and emotionally healthy people or even being in relationship with those suffering from mental illness who are willing to admit they need and want help. Relating to a person suffering from mental illness who refuses to seek help goes beyond the practical application offered in most books with the exception of the Bible. Applying grace and mercy is essential in relationships with those who suffer from mental illness because God calls us to love others. That being said, God does not call us to abuse at the hands, or the mouth, of a foolish person. The Bible has much to say about the foolish; in fact, a word search at biblegateway.com yielded 182 verses pertaining to a fool. Here is a sampling:

Psalm 107:17 -Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 13:20 – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 14:7 – Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips

Proverbs 14:8 – The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

Proverbs 17:21 – To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.

Proverbs 17:25 – A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.

Proverbs 23:9 – Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

Proverbs 26:11 – As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.

Proverbs 27:3 – Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.

Proverbs 27:22 – Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.

Ecclesiastes 10:2 – The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left

Ephesians 5:11 – Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Titus 3:10 – Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.

Wow! Scripture is clear that we need to stay away from foolish people and that includes those who are dysfunctional, abusive and boundaryless.

I have a history of allowing anger, toxicity, to be taken out on me so when it comes up it feels natural but I know God is calling me to recognize and respond to it in a biblical way. This is anything but easy for me.

Several books I have read referred to these foolish people as, “Toxic” which I consider spot-on terminology. When you come in contact with a chemical toxin you can become contaminated to the degree you are damaged in part or in whole. Spiritually, emotionally and physically speaking we become damaged by “toxic” relationships but instead of calling a HazMat response team to stabilize and remove the toxins we have the Ancient of Days. The Creator of the universe. The Author of Math and Science who created the properties of every toxin known and unknown to man. God knows our entire history and is capable of locating, speaking truth over and eradicating the poison from our very being.

God’s word has everything we need for understanding how to live on planet earth.  This does not necessarily mean our life will be easy or that we will never have impossible issues or problematic people to deal with. God’s word does not tell us we will never encounter difficulties or be allowed more than we can handle just because we are Christians.  You have heard the quote, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” You will not find this quote anywhere in scripture. I have lived through more than I could cope with in multiple areas of my life.  Scripture says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. My times of strenuous challenge have not come from temptation but rather from God allowing me to live through more than I could understand or deal with in a healthy way. This caused me to pray and read the Bible more believing God would heal me and He did; however, not always the way I hoped He would. My help usually came in ways I never imagined. God’s word says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. God’s track record for sustaining me and not failing me is 100%.

God continually allows me more than I can handle which leaves me utterly dependent on Him. I don’t mind this and I actually enjoy rubbing Satan’s stupidity into his own face because every time he sets out to destroy me; my inabilities and weaknesses are turned into strength. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9. You see God does tell me in scripture that when I am weak He will be strong. When I cannot get up off the floor from deep despair His word says He will be the, “Lifter of my head” and He is.

You may be asking, “Who are foolish—toxic people?” If you have to ask you may not have such a person in your life. Or you may have grown up in a toxic relationship and not be aware of it because it is all you have ever known. For others, you may have had a name or two in mind while reading this post.

Foolish (toxic) people are the ones who complain all the time about you and/or pretty much any topic. They are the ones who always blame you for their problems. When you lovingly confront them they always turn things around so things you felt they had done wrong are suddenly your fault or you are the one who did it or you are crazy because it never happened. They drain your energy and leave you feeling tired, angry or depressed. No matter how much you try to cheer them up or compliment them it is never enough and may even come across as an insult to them. They constantly find fault with you and you can’t do anything to please them. Even the Proverbs 31 woman could never please this type of person. They may take advantage of you and manipulate you. They do not respect boundaries you have set. There are controlling aspects of your relationship with them. They are verbally, emotionally, spiritually, physically or sexually abusive to you or a loved one. Are they so nice then so mean, or so mean then so nice, to the point you are left dazed and confused as to what just happened? These are some of the signs to look for in a foolish—toxic relationship.

Do you recognize yourself in such a relationship and want to know how to respond?

The Bible clearly teaches that we are to have nothing to do with a fool but what are we to do if the person is a family member, long-time friend or co-worker?  If you are asking yourself this question I highly recommend you commit the issue to God through prayer. Faithfully ask Him what His heart and will is for you in this relationship and petition it in the name of Jesus.

I would like to tell you that God always repaired and healed toxic relationships in which I was involved but He did not. Not because He wasn’t capable of doing so but because the other person had free will, given by God, but did not choose to be reconciled and healed.

In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

Here is a list of books I have read over the years and can personally recommend:

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Townsend, John

Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond by Evans, Patricia

Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited by Sam Vaknin

The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Allender, Dr. Dan B

If after praying, studying the Bible, receiving godly council, reading and applying applications and setting healthy boundaries you still see no improvement in your relationship with your fool; it may be time to move on.

Maybe you are asking, “What does this application of setting boundaries look like in real life?” I will attempt to share some of my life lessons on boundary setting in upcoming blog posts. I’ll think of them as: Toxic Tuesday: Self-protection from fools of Biblical proportion.

I am no authority in this area, just a fellow sojourner, who God happens to be very serious with in the area of setting boundaries for the purpose of protecting myself and those I love.

Remember: There isn’t any problem a little bit of chocolate and a whole lot of Jesus can’t fix!

LivingWell

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