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Loving Toxic People



People can be really difficult. Especially when you thought they loved you and they ignore you, hurt you, or betray you.

Sometimes those you once thought you loved or could love do something outright hateful or worse. 

And then you are left with the realization, "This person doesn't love me."

"Did they ever love me?"

Truth is spoken to us through others around us.

We soon realize that this person is not a friend. In fact, some will tell us they are toxic.

And soon enough we will recognize this truth when our tears finally meet up with our brains. And we are left with decisions.

The world is full of advice of what to do with toxic people. Pinterest is jammed full of "inspirational self-love methods".





All four of these were saved from my Pinterest board. 


Before I go on, I want to take a moment to talk about Toxic People. 

What exactly is a toxic person???


Toxic People:
 When most people talk of toxic people: Someone who has betrayed or hurt you resulting in you being seriously offended.

When someone we were close to has hurt us we are tempted to cut them out of our lives — Hey, it's even what everyone tells us to do. 

And I totally understand the urge. It's not easy to be around someone that has betrayed your love. From the older woman who I adored and tore down my confidence, to the man I loved and sent me spiraling into months of depression, to the many friends who have "shunned" me or accidentally said hurtful things, I understand what it feels like to be hated yet kept on that leash of love. 

Yet, we are never told to stop loving, to ignore those that spitefully use us, to forget another human. 

Followers of God, we are not called to love ourselves. We are called to love other people, even those that hate us. 

Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, Luke 6:28

Loving may involve giving more than we will receive, but that doesn't mean we stop loving.

Depending on the situation though, this may look different. I do admit there are times when we have to cut someone out of our life. But these times are rare. Examples: it's not healthy to try to remain friends with an ex, especially when there's no effort from the other side. And it's especially not healthy to remain in a situation with real abuse. 

I feel like much too often we react to being hurt with, "This person is toxic to me, so I will stop loving them in order to protect myself." 

If I were to have applied this logic to my life, I'd have hardly any friends. If you love you will get hurt. But if don't love you will be hurt, too. There's no saving yourself out of this truth. And so, this is when we forget ourselves and follow God in loving despite the costs. 

But the Bible actually tells us to do something else first when someone begins to offend us.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother, Matthew 18:15

I recently had a strained friendship. My first reaction was to pull away, trying to ignore the hurt — but that wasn't working. I finally approached my friend. Once I told everything on my mind it completely vanished . . . and I discovered that she truly wasn't toxic . . . the real toxicity had been me allowing miscommunication to grow amidst us, allowing the hurt to fester and spread.

After talking to my friend I found these podcasts and was amazed at how true they'd been for me in repairing this friendship. If you can find the time to listen, I really recommend them! Especially if you are struggling with any sort of relationships in your life. 


Of course, talking to a friend and trying to clear the air between you won't always work. Most likely  it will usually not work. I have quite a few friends that no manner of effort could restore our friendships. Because they aren't willing to try. I eventually had to give up on them, even as I keep loving them and praying for them and hoping that someday God will open their hearts and we can be friends again. 

I also have to guard myself to not closing myself from future friendships just because past friends have hurt. I must never regret loving. I must never excuse myself to do wrong just because others have hurt me. 

People will hurt, yet God says, "Love." 

Love isn't controlling the other person. It certainly isn't about forcing someone else to treat you with respect. Love can't guard against betrayal. Love can't protect itself. Love may be onesided — and that's OK, because we follow a God that expects selfless love, not a pursuit of self-love.

Ignoring another person, cutting off a friendship out of frustrations, hating someone for hurting you — that's not what God asks us to do. It's not how we heal and it's not how we grow. 

Loving people is hard. And that's OK. 

God never promised we would be loved back. He never promised people wouldn't say hurtful thing
to us. He never said friends would remain loyal. 

Yet, He told us to love. 

And that's what I try to do, no matter how hard it is, no matter how many more tears I have to shed, or how many more people betray me. I will always try to keep loving everyone. 
What about you? 





Comments

  1. Wow. That was really good! Honestly, something that I really needed to hear right about now. <3

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    1. Thanks so much, Alyssa! I'm glad this was something you needed. I'll be honest . . . this was a REALLY hard post for me to write.

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  2. I love this so much, Keturah. It's so, so true. It's like that quote from C. S. Lewis--"If you love deeply, you are going to get hurt badly. But it is worth it." Our world is thirsty for this truth. Thank you for writing this!

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    1. I don't know how everyone can't help but love C. S. Lewis. That quote is so beautifully and painfully true. Thank you, Megan!

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  3. Loved this! In reality, we all get mean and we all hurt each other in ways that we don't realise... Personally, sometimes I can get too moody and I get angry for no reason... Sometimes I hurt people that I love the most... But, that doesn't mean I hate them. We all have our own fighting battles, some are shown to the world but some is hidden. I wish I could hug you.. I love you! Have a beautiful day, you beautiful soul! <3

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    1. You make such a good point. We are each awful to others. And that's the saddest thing of all. Virtual hugs shall have to do for now! Thank you, Khadija :)

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  4. Love this!
    I always hated the idea of cutting people out, forgiveness works a lot better.

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    1. Thanks, Skye! Me, too! When I was younger I wanted to be friends with everyone and once had an argument with someone about how I thought I could be friends with everyone, haha! The sad thing is I'm not longer friends with that person, but that's not of my choosing but theirs. I've learned forgiveness is the hardest when the other person does the cutting, but still much better!

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  5. Friendship can be hard because it seems like this can happen a lot. A lot of the time it is a misunderstanding or it seems like they push you away for no reason. Sometimes waiting and praying is best. I don't really know a lot of toxic people maybe because I don't see them that way. I see them as lost people who need prayer.

    astorydetective.blogspot.com

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    1. You're right about friendships being hard and about it being about misunderstandings a lot of the time! That is why communication is so important. That's a very good way to see it, Rakayle. And I hope you're able to continue seeing it that way!

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  6. I lost a good friend because of the very logic to leave toxic people and kids regret it still. This post has so many good points. And is just the reminder I need to love others first

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    1. I'm sorry you've lost friends ;/ It's tough.
      Thanks, Jack! I'm glad you are the type to choose to love others first despite all.

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    1. I'm so glad, Eliza! Thank you for telling me :)

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  8. Yet another amazing post, Keturah. <3 I've noticed a lot of posts like that on Pinterest and always regarded them with a bit of a wary eye, wondering subconsciously what I thought of them. Thank you for opening up this issue in the light of the Word of God; now I know for sure where I should stand.

    Loving the blog's new look! :D

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

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    1. Pinterest is quite full of these - and, I'm sad to say many Christians and churches seem to embrace these self centered beliefs. The blogging community is great because we all actually read and learn, but whenever I share these sort of things on FB nearly everyone finds an excuse for why God wants them to not love others and think of themselves first. It's becoming quite sad ;/

      And thanks! I've been trying so hard to make it look cleaner! Thanks for sharing, Lila :)

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  9. I definitely think there's a difference between a person you don't get along with vs an actual toxic person, who might even gaslight you so you're not sure if they're even toxic or you're making it up. It's good to note hate or hold grudges! But yeah, I'm never for loving your abusers.

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    1. There's definitely a difference! Though sometimes that line can be fuzzy. And I totally understand what you mean by not being sure if someone is toxic or making it up. THAT IS THE HARDEST SORT OF PERSON TO DEAL WITH EMOTIONALLY. So hard ;/

      We certainly can't be best buddies with an abuser, but it's one of the things about early Christians from church history that amazed nonbelievers back then and continues to amaze people today; the strength to love those that persecute us above our own selves. But we can't love them with our own strength, but the strength of God. We can't love them to try to win their loyalty - that is unhealthy and only backfires making us more of a victim. We have to love them WITHOUT the goal of being loved back, with a distance that is only crossed when that loves absolutely requires us to be next to them.

      Thanks for commenting, even though you disagreed. I enjoy all perspectives :)

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  10. YES YES YES!! Preach!! Those Pinterest self-love quotes make me so mad because it's all about self. It's so selfish when you think about it. And egotistic and arrogant.

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    1. Definitely egotistic and arrogant, for sure — glad I'm not the only one made mad, lol ;D Thanks :)

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  11. <3 This is beautiful, Keturah! Thank you!

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