Jesus and Toxic People 2
Confronting Toxic People
A few weeks ago it seemed that almost everyone who I sat down and talked with were dealing with “toxic” people in their lives. Weeks like that are like “discernment for dummies” for me. I figure if I keep coming across the same issue again and again, it might be something that I should teach about.
Jesus serves and loves Judas. – do not forget this radical response as we learn more…
Are we to just love and serve, and stay quiet?
Jesus serves and loves Judas, but it is a quiet confrontation of his toxicity.
Other time Jesus confronts “toxicity” it is not so quiet!
Matthew 23:13-15 (2 of 7 “woes”)
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and then you make that convert twice as much a child of hell as you are.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."
Living as a toxic person is a terrible way to live! The toxicity sooner or later poisons the toxic person. One way that we might selflessly love and serve them is to confront them with their behavior.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If any of you think you are something when you are nothing, you deceive yourselves. 4 Each of you should test your own actions. Then you can take pride in yourself, without comparing yourself to somebody else, 5 for each of you should carry your own load.
1) – restore gently
Goal is restoration
- this is hard, usually by the time we get to the point of confrontation we are so frustrated with them for their behavior, and frustrated with ourselves for not dealing with it earlier, or fearful… we just want to tear into them and let them have it! But the goal is to restore the to right relationship – with ourselves, with God, with others they are hurting
It is so easy to let our passions get a hold of us in these situations, but the idea is we are to lead people to the right, not beat them into submission.
Even in evangelism:
1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
- But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Tempted by the same sin – we often see in others what we struggle with ourselves
Tempted by pride and arrogance – placing ourselves over the other in judgment:
“If any of you think you are something when you are nothing, you deceive yourselves. Each of you should test your own actions. Then you can take pride in yourself, without comparing yourself to somebody else, for each of you should carry your own load.”
Speaking the Truth in Love
Ephesians 4:14-15 …no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Speaking the truth in love is not just something to say before you speak your opinion in anger and hurt – it is real.
Faith’s ability to express love while calling you to the right. – you walked away feeling a deep sense of being cared for.
Jesus’ call to purity, and his attractiveness to “sinners”
Woman caught in adultery – go and sin no more…
The woman at the well
Catching Peter’s eye after the denial…
We are able to do this through the strength of God’s love within us.
- John 13:1&3
1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
…. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
Next week – receiving the Father’s love.
How do we do this with the toxic people in our lives? Or even just the regular folks who might have toxic behaviors?
1) Love them from your heart – ask God to give you this love. Do acts of love and service for them with out expecting a positive response. Pray prayers of blessing for them rather than prayers of change.
2) Ask God if you are the one to confront them, what is his timing, what are his words?
3) Do it soon. Speak before things “come to a head.” This might help you with your frustration.
4) Do it privately – this is not to shame your friend.
5) Express as much hope and care as you can in ways that they can receive.
6) Pray like mad!