Dealing with Toxic People in Your Life? Many Christians have this wrong idea that a Christ-follower has to be so accepting of other people that we would never stay away from them even if their presence in our lives is toxic or harmful; that we should always to be there for them and help them see the light.
After all, we believe that God can change them, right? And maybe He’ll use us for that purpose, right? I’m pretty sure there are many who consider the idea of staying away from certain people as rejecting them. To be honest, it’s not. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all His followers to be wise, and that includes dealing with certain people in our lives. Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Toxic people are the kind who are loaded down with various lusts and issues that they are either not dealing with or are using to in some way to manipulate or control their relationship with you. They might appear good, kind, even “angelic,” but you’ll know by their fruits that they really aren’t. Paul warns us about such people: Timothy 3:1-5 “They know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”
These people possess in them the kind of character that Christians must not have. Befriending and spending time with such people becomes dangerous because “Bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good manners.”
So, yes, we are called to be loving to all and do our best to be a witness, but Paul warns us there are actually some people we should distance ourselves from for our own sakes.
Staying away from such people doesn’t mean hating them or trying to hurt them. While we stay away to avoid being influenced, we keep praying for and hoping for their salvation in Christ. It’s not a sin to keep yourself safe-it’s actually a wise thing to do because the Bible also warns that we too can stumble while trying to save the immoral brother. If you don’t have the spiritual strength necessary to deal with the toxic person, it can be in your own best interests to look after your own spiritual health first. As you step back and pray for that person, it gives God the opportunity to work in their lives and it may well be that a door opens for you to try again with them in the future when you or they are in a better position for you to do so.