How to Dismiss a Toxic Person
You’re fired. Sort of. I’m not specifically referring to an employee. I’m talking about a person in your life, maybe a friend, someone in your social sphere, or even a member of your Christian community. Sometimes we encounter toxic people in life. Often they do not initially appear to be troublesome, but as time goes on they bring out the drama in a big way. They are a downer, a consistent energy drain. They complain, always have a need, want to confide, monopolize time, and force attention to themselves.
The toxic person is usually a gossiper and stirs up strife and dissention. They almost always have a beef with someone, and feel the need to tell you. And perhaps the worst of all is a toxic person is easily offended. Even when you try to help them, they get more offended. And maybe they try to manipulate you too in the process. Yep, it’s ugly. The whole stinky messy sticky business. And they just want to suck you in deeper.
Now the Christian side wants to help. You empathize with them, and see their hurt. But what can you really do? Is your relationship as a trusted friend and accountability partner, or is it just a one-sided dump fest on you? Usually the toxic person doesn’t have real accountability or counselors in their life. They just move around in shallowness, mucking up the lives of any kind heart who’ll listen. Then after a while, they get offended again and move on. And repeat the cycle.
Sometimes you can spot this person coming and get out of the way. Perhaps you have a gut feeling warning you about getting involved. And usually your hunch proves true if you do. Hindsight can be a hard lesson here. I know. I’ve been down this road. And I know personally how the offensive spirit in the toxic person’s life can work its way into our own. Often we don’t realize it at the time, because the Devil is a sly one, and that’s his game see. He disguises the poison as just circumstances. But upon closer evaluation, the common denominator is this person. The toxic person who seems to keep spreading the virus around.
So what can you do with a toxic person? Pray, and get out of the way! Simple as that. But relationships are tricky right? And you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings either. Well, you don’t have to do or say anything that you’ll ask God’s forgiveness for later. Just politely and definitely and completely and finally back away and tell them to stay away. It’s called dismissal. And it’s perfectly legal. Yes, you as a Christian are allowed to dismiss a toxic person from your life. It is healthy to do so. Further, it could be the very thing God is trying to teach you to do. Deal gently, be obedient, and let God handle the outcome. You are literally handing this person over to God. (Or Satan, depending upon whether you read the New Testament or not.) It’s not your role. It’s God’s role. So roll with it.
And when you do, I promise, you’ll know it’s right. At first you may feel timid and sad, but later you’ll be glad you took the higher healthier road. You must guard your heart, and not allow offenses to take hold. Jesus warned us, so this isn’t a shocker—you’re gonna have some real _____ (insert favorite derogatory noun) in your life; and you’re responsibility is to pray for them and get out of the way. The toxic person is not ready yet for God to heal this broken area in their life. They are being stubborn, maybe even rebellious, and are just redirecting their own pain at someone else. Don’t let that be you.
Anything or anyone who comes to steal from you is not of God. A toxic person is never humble, only insecure. So their spirit is not open. You’re not going to give or receive a blessing dealing with them. Your desire should be to honor God and yourself and your family. You must preserve the integrity of your relationship with Christ and with your family. You should not give a toxic person permission to speak into your life. And that means ignoring them. Find excuses to be busy. Cancel any appointments with them. Go somewhere else. Get another job. Don’t invite them over. Just back away.
But what if you can’t avoid this person completely? Perhaps they’re a family member or coworker. Sure it’s harder, but you can still back away. Don’t let some artificial status confine you. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean they own you. Do separate holidays. Or only get together at public places. Tell them you’re amish now. Defriend them on Facebook. Cut ties. Again it’s not easy but you can do it. Jesus said anyone who is not willing to leave Father and Mother for my sake is not fit for the Kingdom. Wow. How’s that for being decisive?! So we have no excuse. We allow a toxic person to remain in our life as if a poisonous snake were in the bedroom. How long would it take you to get that snake out of the house? It’s a matter of priorities, and protecting what’s most dear to you.