Tag Archives: Safe People

What Would Jesus Do in a Toxic Relationship?


This is my Toxic Tuesday post on Boundaries a day late.  Illness, a migraine, Christmas planning and festivities and appointments left my house and Tuesday to-do lists flat and unchecked on the pages of my daily calendar.

I will be sharing over the next few week steps I took to make right a gone-wrong relationship and I will share the results of my undertaking. I believe God calls us to be the peacemaker, the negotiator—the problem solver. Why do I believe this? It is the theme of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Relationship gone wrong is the reason we need a Savior, Jesus Christ, the reconciler of toxic relationships. Compared to Him we are all toxic. Jesus had justification to leave us behind forever—to move on; to create a new world with sinless people but He didn’t. He remained faithful to His creation when we did not remain faithful to Him. When Christ could have left He instead came closer.

Believe me, the coming closer to my toxic person made me squirm. The what-ifs of my decision took over a portion of my thought life; which in hind sight was essential to keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-3, “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (The Message)


As I interacted in my toxic relationship I focused my eyes, mind and heart on Jesus and told my mountain to, MOVE in the name of Jesus. “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20. I knew it was the right thing to do and I wanted to stay the course; in fact, when I knew without a shadow of doubt God was releasing me from the relationship I refused to budge. I knew as a Christian God could and would see me through to the other side as I set my resolve toward Him through prayer, Bible study and wise godly counsel. I had faith my toxic person and I would come out on the other side to healing and reconciliation.  At times I felt as though God held my hand as I skimmed the surface of hell begging and pleading with my person to leave their sin, make things right, do the hard thing, seek help, choose their family and their God; not their messed up life and their vocation.

I knew I would never regret staying close to God and doing everything I could through prayer, fasting, setting boundaries, receiving wise godly counsel and finding detours around obstacles.

That being said; if your life is in danger or you are being physically or sexually abused please leave immediately and seek help. 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.  God does not expect you to endure abuse or live in danger.

More to come next Tuesday.

The Boundary of Self-SufficiencyFriends art

 If you are attempting to ride out a storm of difficult circumstances self-sufficiency is one boundary that needs to come down.

Our culture tends to think of self-sufficiency as only a positive term but the bible teaches us what the desire of self-sufficiency led to for Satan. Satan did not want to depend on God or have to bend a knee to God and the result was being cast out of heaven; eternally separated from God (Isaiah 14:12-15). The tower of Babel was built out of the desire to be self-sufficient; “From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4-9. The Laodicean church claimed self-sufficiency and were rebuked for it. Revelation 3:17.

In the midst of problems, depression, or difficult relationships have you ever been told, “You must not have enough faith” or, “You must not be praying enough”? Do you look at other people and think they must not have any problems and are therefore more mature in their walk. Do you reason that the person who hides their problems or keeps problems to themselves is a shining example of self-control and wisdom?

Consider this, Luke 18:11-14, “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

We see here the messed up tax collector admitted to his messiness and went home justified while the Pharisee went home humbled (but not by his own will).

If you do not consider  yourself as fitting either the Pharisee or Tax Collector scenario and are living the good life in a good place with wonderful people; I have a challenge for you.

Do not judge

If a friend approaches you with a heavy heart please take the time to listen. Then go home and pray; ask God why He allowed you to hear your friend’s heart. You do not have to give them wise counsel, practical application or attempt to fix the problem. Just listen. Pray with them. Pray scripture over them. Write a note or send an email to let them know you care. Mourn with those who mourn. I believe this is one of the toughest assignments given in scripture. We think of mourning as an emotion we experience after a loved one’s death but it can also be the result of a lost relationship, a dysfunctional relationship, unmet expectations or living through difficult circumstances. You never know how long the storm in someone’s life is going to rage and you may become tired and weary of listening, but stay in there with them. Mourn with those who mourn.

When we think we have it all together and need no one; we forget that we are made to be in relationship with God and with other people. Do what you are designed to do; connect with other people.

Being self-sufficient, as in personally responsible for yourself, is part of self-government and is biblically supported. That’s different. What I’m talking about is people who do not connect with others, have no  need for others and do not bond with others sometimes for the purpose of keeping their problems a secret or keeping safe from ever being hurt by others.

Come to terms with your needs. God allows them in your life so you will have need for Him and need for others.

Tear down your wall of self-sufficiency. Allow friends to enter. Pray to God for one trust-worthy godly friend who will have the ability to hang in there with you, to celebrate with you, to mourn with you, to pray with you, to listen and with whom you can experience close relationship.

If you do not trust yourself to find healthy people to be in relationship with I recommend the book, Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good For You and Avoid Those That Aren’t  by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I also encourage you to find a local church home and plug into a class, study or support group through the church.

You need at least one God-given friend to walk your lonely, difficult, heart-aching road with you.

God wants us to be dependent on Him for our needs and He also wants us to be interdependent on others through close relationships.