Monday, January 2, 2017

Living at peace far as it depends on you

Well, here it is … the second day of a new year. “Out with the old and in with the new” is what they say. And that is exactly what I intend to do in 2017.
2016 literally drained me of needy people. Some may call them toxic relationships, whatever you call it, they drain me spiritually, physically and emotionally. I am the type of personality to give it my all; give, give, and give some more and it is difficult for me when people zone in on my kindness and take advantage of me. It’s almost like I’m wearing a bull’s-eye on my chest that says, “hit me right here!”.
You know what I am talking about. That person you work with, or go to church with or maybe even call brother or sister, that literally suck the life out of you! They insist on getting the last word, or attacking you for anything and everything. Every chance they get, they sucker punch you! As a Christian, we are all led to believe that the “Christian thing” to do is sit back and take it, but the Bible does not say that we have to let it keep coming. In fact the Bible DOES say that some people are just toxic or “snakes”…
“Their venom is like the venom of a snake…” (Psalm 58:4)
Maybe you have someone in your life that is slippery like a snake; the havoc that they bring will mess up your attitude, mess with your relationships and it can mess with your spiritual walk with the Lord if you are not careful. Toxic people are often very unreasonable. You cannot reason with them or talk things out because they are so fixated on themselves. They will blame you for everything and point out how everyone has wronged them and they take no personal responsibility for anything.
So what do we do with these relationships that are killing us, more specifically, what can a Christian do?
First, recognize that it has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with them. The saying is true that “hurting people hurt people”. The main reason some people become a thorn in our flesh is because they have unresolved hurt in their life and instead of dealing with it, it is easier to inflict pain on others.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
They key phrase here is, “as far as it depends on you”. Also, “If it is possible”. What a Christian can do in a toxic relationship hinges upon these two things. Sometimes, a person can do all that they can do and it still not be possible to live at peace. Some people don’t want peace, they want to wallow in their pain and while down there, they want to make you suffer to. If you have prayed, fasted and done all that you can do to seek peace and STILL there is none…all you can do sometimes is just agree to disagree.
Secondly, sometimes even agreeing to disagreeing doesn’t stop people from sucker punching us. When you have done all that you can, sometimes you need to just move on, take a step away and separate yourself. Even Jesus recognized this with the Pharisees…
“Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to His disciples, saying, ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.’ ” (Luke 12:1)
After you have recognized what causes toxic people to tick, and you have done all that you can do, and you have had no choice but to separate yourself from them; the third and most important thing to do is to pray for reconciliation and seek God to break down the barriers that keep the toxic person from getting free from their pain.
In 2017, I am determined to do things differently. I don’t mean that I intend to hang up the towel on every angry, hurtful person that comes across my path. In fact, I don’t think that is what God wants for us to do at all. But I do think God wants us to live more intentional. In 2017 I am going to be more intentional about the words I speak, the places that I go, the actions (and reactions) that I take and I am going to be more intentional of putting safe boundaries up in relationships that are harming me and not bringing me closer to Christ. If I could live a more intentional life for Christ, perhaps the walls of pain that others have could be penetrated and they too could become more intentional. (And free in Christ)!
Live in peace … as it depends on you, because it just might be dependent on what you do or don’t do.
Blessings. Laurie

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