Tag Archives: biblical help with toxic people

Self-Medicating Due to Crazymakers: Free Rx

Are the crazymakers in your life getting the best of you today; or this year for that matter? You know who I’m talking about. The one who makes your business everyone’s business (gossip and/or betraying a trust). The one who lies about you; perhaps to your face (This one shocks me every time. As if I don’t know they are lying about me…and they think I’m going to believe the non-truth about myself.) The one who verbally shreds you, lies to you, goes behind your back, or says unkind words; then says, “I never said that.” The one whose negative outlook on life and people is hurting you emotionally, spiritually and possibly physically through your health. Stress is a HUGE health factor.

Here is your medicine! Wash your mind with it. It will change the way you think, the way you respond, and the way you feel. Do you want the prescription? I thought so!

I suggest writing this medicine on note cards and keeping it handy throughout the day.

2 Timothy 17

Yes! Power, love and a sound mind—I’ll take it. If someone is messing with your mind they are not sound. God does not require you to tolerate it.

Romans 12 2

Don’t allow any person to place a pattern on you and tell you that’s who you are or all you can be. Invite the Holy Spirit to renew, reeducate, and redirect your mind. Healthy stuff!

2 Cor 10 5

We don’t have to succumb to personal attacks or to our weaknesses. We fight (demolish) through faith, hope, love and the power of prayer; specifically praying God’s word out loud over the argument or pretension.

Matthew 11 29 30

Remember that God the Father, Jesus the son, and the comforter, Holy Spirit are tender and loving when teaching us. Anything else is from the enemy. God will not use their nastiness, meanness or lies to bring you back to Him; to teach you the lesson He has for you. You may need to learn how to set boundaries with people and that will be a good lesson, but a crazymakers treatment of you is not God’s chastisement of you.

Colossians 2 2a

Yep, God builds up. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly.

Phil 4 8

Do NOT give your thought life over to the negative thinkers. Do you tend to be like a hampster running on its little wheel—the thoughts keep turning over and over in your mind? Stop it! Jump off! Give it to God and focus on His truth.

1 John 4 18

Insecurities are founded in fear. Fearful people may place their insecurities on you. This is not from God. Keep a sound mind. Don’t jump on the hampster wheel with the negative thoughts. Allow God to wash your mind with His words and remember His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Psalm 118 14

Tell it, the ungodly belief, “You will have to take that up with my Father. Depart from me in Jesus’ name.” You have the scriptural authority to do it; use it! I hope this gives you a new application for Psalm 118:14.

Psalm 139 17

No thought, opinion or word spoken over you matters. Don’t EVEN consider the negative, crazymaking words. Ask God for His truth, His opinion, His thoughts—then thank Him for them and act on them.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.

Toxic Tuesday: It is Real You are Write


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 Tuesday: Do Not Underestimate the Power in Numbers


Community: You need it.

Hopefully you have a church home you pour your life into and of which you enjoy the benefits of learning, praising, praying, serving, friendship, encouragement and help when needed.

Hebrews 10:22-25 The Message (MSG) “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”

I am not going to use this time and space to argue why some people do or do not go to church. I will simply remind you there is no perfection on this side of heaven. If you are looking for the perfect church practicing perfect theology, full of perfect people with a perfect pastor you will never find it. You can however find a healthy church that will help you grow closer to God in heart, soul, mind and strength while encouraging you to love and serve others. It is about daily relationship with God and His one and only son, Jesus.

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

If you are living, working or interacting with a toxic person, having a safe place (church family) is critical to your well being. Having a daily relationship with God through prayer and Bible study is essential to you emotionally and spiritually. Do you merely want to survive or do you want to thrive? I thought so! Thrive baby! You need God, you need friends and you need the church.

When God wants to work in your difficult relationship or circumstance He will most likely do it through the community around you; the church and/or godly friends and perhaps even a godly counselor.

Next week I will discuss using your community for intervention in a difficult relationship. There are several biblical examples from which to draw practical application. I will share an example of a time when I had to do just that. My desired outcome for the person, and I believe God’s desire, was repentance, obedience to God because His ways are best and full of blessing, and a restored right relationship to friends and family.

In the meantime; guard your testimony, pray up, and practice self-control through kindness and love when responding to a toxic person. (Read past Toxic Tuesday posts for more help on interacting with toxic people.)

I am praying for you.

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