There are 2 cups, both filled with liquid. One cup has a label that says, “water.” The other has a label that says, “toxic.” Unless you have a death wish or are crazy, I can only assume you would drink from the cup that says water. No sane person would drink something that is toxic.
Yet, you allow others in your life that are completely 100% toxic to your peace, your heart, and your sanity. Ouch.
We are absolutely called to help others in need. I believe when others are down, we as Christians and human beings should lift them up. However, there comes a point when you have to assess in the process of lifting them up if you yourself being pulled down. Are you bringing the one who is “drowning” up to the surface to breathe, or are they in return pulling you under water with them?
I’ve learned that there are 2 types of toxic people in our lives. One is the person who is completely about themselves and their misery. They also do not like to see others in better positions than themselves because it further points out their flaws. So just as the phrase says, “misery loves company.”
The second one is even more dangerous in ways because the person doesn’t have bad intentions. In fact, they may seem to have GREAT intentions. The problem lies that in that they are more for advancing their own emotions rather than God’s will. They are the friend that may overstep boundaries in your marriage, the family member who constantly needs your attention at the cost of what God really wants your focus to be on, or the person who is for what feels good for them and not necessarily what’s best for you.
There comes a point in any relationship when these red flags of toxicity come up, you have to pray and evaluate. At the end of the day, your relationship with God is first and foremost. Any person who is in your close circle should respect and honor that, period. The second most important relationship is your IMMEDIATE family. Yes, IMMEDIATE, meaning spouse, then children, NOT your mother, your father, your siblings, your cousins, etc. (unless you are unmarried and that still is your immediate family). I am by no means saying those relationships aren’t super important, but at the end of the day, when you get married and have children, their position in the priority list changes. Unfortunately, this can be a huge problem for many families. Even blood can be toxic sometimes.
If you are starting to have people pop in your mind as you are reading this, chances are they may be toxic to you. I’m not saying you have to cut them out and say, “you’re dead to me,” mafia-style. I’m simply saying it’s time to seek God’s direction. You may still be able to have them in your life, but boundaries definitely have to be set. If they are truly for you, they will understand and adhere to what God has told you. If they refuse, then it may be time to consider the next step in cutting the relationship until they can respect your boundaries. It sounds very sad, especially when you are talking about family or lifelong friendships, but at the end of the day, you can’t “drink poison” and expect a peaceful outcome.
I can tell you from experience, I’ve had relationships completely blossom when godly boundaries were set. Sometimes the person with the good intentions thinks they are helping, and once they see they aren’t, they value you enough to reassess their role in your life, and the friendship becomes more of a two-way street. I’ve also had people I’ve had to cut off completely, and honestly, once the initial sting went away, I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders because I was no longer allowing that relationship to drain me of everything I was. I had peace, and you can’t put a price tag on that.
So for those reading drinking from the “toxic” cup in life, those trying to please EVERYONE but themselves, those taking attention off of the things in life that truly deserve your focus to help rescue someone who is pulling you down with them, it’s time to put down the poisoned cup and drink from the one with the Living Water, filled with peace that comes from doing God’s will, with no guilt attached. Think about it this way:
Jesus himself served tremendously without sacrificing his peace. He kept his focus on God, the mission, and his calling. He healed and helped multitudes, but at the end of the day, he only kept a few in his close-knit circle, and they were the ones who were for advancing the kingdom and not just what they could get from Jesus. He kept out the toxicity without sacrificing his ministry.
It’s time to trade the poison for peace.