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“Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet.” (Psalm 140:4 NIV)

Another term for “wicked” is “toxic.”  Wicked people from Biblical times are toxic people in today’s world.  Toxic people drain you of life.  They are unsupportive, self-centered, and difficult.  “7 Types of Toxic People and How to Spot Them,” is an excellent article explaining toxic people.

We all have toxic people in our lives. Some we’ve known a lifetime, others we’ve met through a friend or in the workplace.  However they came into our life, God’s answer to toxic people is always the same: love.

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV)

God protects us from the wicked with love.

The thing is, we don’t have to love toxic people up close.  When you identify someone in your life as toxic, you are the one who has to set healthy boundaries for the relationship.  Jesus was a master at this because He knew people’s hearts:

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25 NIV)

The above verses come right after Jesus has kicked out the craft fair going on in the Temple.  He knows the toxicity in man’s hearts. And He set boundaries: He “did not entrust Himself to them” (v. 24).  Jesus understood He had to set healthy boundaries with man because man is incapable of doing it.

Setting healthy boundaries isn’t easy.  “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend helped me immensely.  I learned how to identify toxic people in my life and set boundaries.  I learned to identify areas in which I was toxic.  I’m still learning.  

The lesson hardest to learn for me: to set healthy boundaries, I have to work on my health.  I have to debunk lies I believe which allows toxic people to treat me as they do.  I have to realize I have self worth.  I have to recognize what my part is in the relationship and take responsibility for my actions.  I learned this from Jesus:

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5 NIV)

Once I deal with the speck in my eye, I can see clearly.  I can see what boundaries I need to create.  I can love that person from afar by continually praying for them.  I realize, my job isn’t to fix them.  My job is to pray for them.  God is their Savior, not me.

God protects us from the wicked with love.

Question of the Day:

What healthy boundary do you need to make?

Further Reading:2 Kings 3:1-4:17 NIV, Acts 14:8-28 NIV, Psalm 140 NIV, Proverbs 17:22 NIV

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