Difference between "normal sinners" and "toxic people" ?

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dokimos

Guest
#1
As those in Christ, I feel we are called to be merciful and forgiving to all, reconciling ourselves to others and that division in the body of Christ is unacceptable.

But the question arises in my mind:
When is it okay to keep people at a distance, even other believers? We must forgive, but at what point can we say we shouldn't tolerate manipulation, control or guilt trips? At what point is it okay to not speak to someone for a while? Or even, indefinitely? This question I ask regarding believers and unbelievers alike.

What if someone who is a believer sets a bad example for you with their spiritual conduct? What if that same person also eats up a lot of your time with things of the world? What if you feel that person is holding you back a bit? What if they use mind games, guilt trips and manipulation on you? Does anyone struggle with friends or family like this? Even believing family or friends?
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
2,015
1,647
113
#2
In Genesis 13 we see Lot and Abram in conflict, so they went their own ways.

I see no biblical mandate that says you must perpetually stay in contact with someone who is actively unhealthy for you. Rather i see where we are to go out of our way to help and work things out. But that doesn't mean if you're being dragged down you need to continue.
And forgiveness does not equate to ignoring mistreatment and allowing it to continue. You can be gracious and forgive, yet be wise and get away. Both wisdom and graciousness are important. It's a matter of knowing when to employ which.

We also see Paul stating that some should be removed from churches and be cast to the wolves. Of course this is a final action when nothing else has worked to dissuade people from willful sin, but it still shows a precedent that involves separating from believers.

It could be said not casting pearls before swine could suggest a separation as well, at least as one possible option.

The traditional 'Christians are punching bags' concept so commonly taught is one i never believed in.
 

CharliRenee

Member
Staff member
Nov 4, 2014
6,072
6,636
113
#3
What a good and valid question. I will insert myself before answering here. I think first we go to Him. He tells us to keep our peace and let Him take care of it, Exodus 14:14. If ppl are transparently not walking the walk, not extending love or mercy, or only to ones that seem worthy, pray for them and just carry on in our space, leave that kind of contradiction to itself. I think we just be real and carry on loving best we can as we would with anyone. Definitely, do not compromise who we are in Him. We, however, should elevate who we choose to hang out with not because we are better but because we want to do better, lol. I have a friend who is such a good friend, a real heart for servatude. If you want to be a part of her life, you have to be ready to give back. She gives away so much of her time to serve others.

My point of going on about her is to make this clear... Is it a good thing to be circumspect when it involves using discernment wisely? It seems less noble when are saying someone is less than us. But if we are just acknowledging others are better than us, it seems humble and a wise hope for honorable change.

I would also take this into consideration...Am I a blessing to his or her faith. Am I bringing to or taking from the table.. that matters in determining the value of a friendship as well, eh?
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
7,684
2,774
113
#4
Hey I hear you will have a think on this.maybe you thinking of narcisstic people?

When we have toxins in our body what takes them out the liver...but also we can do a detox diet or fast and be healthy again.

Also Jesus came across these people called Pharisees and they were always trying to trip him up while all the time acting holier than thou. JEsus didnt willingly hang round them he had his own friends.

And corinthians tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Maybe check you not yoked with anyone,and if does come to it, break it off. You can still be civil with them but go your separate ways nothing is worse than being dragged astray by someone who does not want to follow Jesus.
 
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dokimos

Guest
#5
In Genesis 13 we see Lot and Abram in conflict, so they went their own ways.

I see no biblical mandate that says you must perpetually stay in contact with someone who is actively unhealthy for you. Rather i see where we are to go out of our way to help and work things out. But that doesn't mean if you're being dragged down you need to continue.
And forgiveness does not equate to ignoring mistreatment and allowing it to continue. You can be gracious and forgive, yet be wise and get away. Both wisdom and graciousness are important. It's a matter of knowing when to employ which.

We also see Paul stating that some should be removed from churches and be cast to the wolves. Of course this is a final action when nothing else has worked to dissuade people from willful sin, but it still shows a precedent that involves separating from believers.

It could be said not casting pearls before swine could suggest a separation as well, at least as one possible option.

The traditional 'Christians are punching bags' concept so commonly taught is one i never believed in.
Sometimes my mind goes back to "But I tell you not to resist the evil person. Instead, whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. " Matthew 5:39

I think, if someone has enough biblical knowledge, they could learn how to throw a bible at you to make you feel as if you are wrong in how you choose to - or not to - engage with them. Even if you are not technically wrong.

Although, it is all about how you respond to someone's sin. You should not give a harsh answer, of course. But there is such thing as someone focusing too much on their carnal desire, making control or the attention of man an idol. Technically, both parties can be in sin. Sin truly *can* encompass a man's being that much. There isn't always a right person, and a wrong person. Usually, both parties are in sin.
 
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dokimos

Guest
#6
What a good and valid question. I will insert myself before answering here. I think first we go to Him. He tells us to keep our peace and let Him take care of it, Exodus 14:14. If ppl are transparently not walking the walk, not extending love or mercy, or only to ones that seem worthy, pray for them and just carry on in our space, leave that kind of contradiction to itself. I think we just be real and carry on loving best we can as we would with anyone. Definitely, do not compromise who we are in Him. We, however, should elevate who we choose to hang out with not because we are better but because we want to do better, lol. I have a friend who is such a good friend, a real heart for servatude. If you want to be a part of her life, you have to be ready to give back. She gives away so much of her time to serve others.

My point of going on about her is to make this clear... Is it a good thing to be circumspect when it involves using discernment wisely? It seems less noble when are saying someone is less than us. But if we are just acknowledging others are better than us, it seems humble and a wise hope for honorable change.

I would also take this into consideration...Am I a blessing to his or her faith. Am I bringing to or taking from the table.. that matters in determining the value of a friendship as well, eh?
Yes, it is sin to not associate with one due to feeling they are "less than". I think it is a different thing to want to avoid interactions with a specific person due to there being real risks for your spiritual growth. If you know something can make you sin, it is best to go away from that thing and only tackle it head on for the glory of God once Jesus has given you the discipline and sanctification necessary to no longer react sinfully. He can and *will* give that discipline to those who desire it because they want to glorify God.
 

Hevosmies

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2018
3,410
2,527
113
#7
The traditional 'Christians are punching bags' concept so commonly taught is one i never believed in.
This this this.

Im sick and tired of this concept. And people already know not to test me.

Be polite, but dont let anyone bully you. Be loving, but dont let anyone abuse you
 
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dokimos

Guest
#8
Hey I hear you will have a think on this.maybe you thinking of narcisstic people?

When we have toxins in our body what takes them out the liver...but also we can do a detox diet or fast and be healthy again.

Also Jesus came across these people called Pharisees and they were always trying to trip him up while all the time acting holier than thou. JEsus didnt willingly hang round them he had his own friends.

And Corinthians tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Maybe check you not yoked with anyone,and if does come to it, break it off. You can still be civil with them but go your separate ways nothing is worse than being dragged astray by someone who does not want to follow Jesus.
I do not know if the person I am speaking of is a narcissist, and I definitely think it would be a grievous evil to attribute a serious personality disorder to one publicly without knowing for sure, but I appreciate your insight and sensitivity.

The Pharisees were pretty unpleasant people, and in my opinion, manipulative also.

I am wondering in 2 Corinthians 6 if being "unequally yoked" is referred to in a generic relational context. It is always used in reference to marital or "eros" - not "agape" love, but if I apply that to

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 cor 15:33

it makes sense.

It is a tough situation. I guess it all depends on each person's obedience to Jesus!
 
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dokimos

Guest
#9
This this this.

Im sick and tired of this concept. And people already know not to test me.

Be polite, but dont let anyone bully you. Be loving, but dont let anyone abuse you
Thank you.
 

KALYNA18

Senior Member
Oct 25, 2016
1,476
292
83
#10
A lot of right answers written. Most important, is that to obey the word of the Lord with Wisdom. One of those scriptures say, avoid all appearances, of evil. If we did that, on the outside of their conduct, attitudes, and actions, do they have the fruit of the HOly Spirit, a lot of hurt would be avoided. Then we ask, Lord why, it needs discernment. There is no cut answer how to interact with people, as everyone is different. You have no idea, how many people there are in the churches, that are in need of Mental Health professionals. Some could be dangerous. Some have deep roots from childhood, and many of these ills, just grow with them, and if only they would grow in the Lord, that darkness would be enlightened by the light, and attitudes would be convicted, if people are willing to change. Jesus talked about the stoney heart, it is calloused, hardened, and dosn't feel anymore. He said, I will give you a human heart, a heart of feeling, or was in in Jerimiah. The down right truth is, that there are so many strongholds. There are narcisstic people, people who are afraid to love beautiful women, there's a name for this, not only Toxic people. They need deliverance. One man said in Church, out loud, that he can't forget, something that happened to him, when he was young, that picture keeps resurfacing in his mind. The holy spirit spoke to me, and revealed to me, the problem, more of Jesus, and the light will dispell that darkness. This is not the kind of REligious thing. It is the personal relationship, one on one, and nothing, nobody inbetween you relationship with the Lord. One of the key problems believers are doing, is working themselves to death, in the church. This is a door that Satan is entering in, and causing all kinds of mental problems, because of the stress. When a person is tired, and overwhelmed, they are in a weakend state not only physically but in all areas, this is the time to say, I need to rest, and because my body is the temple of the HOLY Spirit, I will honor it, and obey the Lord. Psychosis, and breakdowns, happen when a person, is under pressures, and stressed. It is not only a Psychological Answer, to rest, and elliviate your self from the pressure/ stress situaltion, but it also is a Scriptural one. I'm not a Dr./ coauch, but the HOly Spirit reveals all truth. Good people, and sincere people who love the Lord , overlook what the bible says, " come unto me and I will give you RESt, Jesus said this. Your not turning your back on refusing something, your turning your self to face Christ, and sitting at his feet, and listening to his words. I don't know people are just humans in and out of a church. Hope I didn't step on any ones toes, just speaking from my spiritual perspective.
 

JaumeJ

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2011
17,493
4,008
113
#11
As those in Christ, I feel we are called to be merciful and forgiving to all, reconciling ourselves to others and that division in the body of Christ is unacceptable.

But the question arises in my mind:
When is it okay to keep people at a distance, even other believers? We must forgive, but at what point can we say we shouldn't tolerate manipulation, control or guilt trips? At what point is it okay to not speak to someone for a while? Or even, indefinitely? This question I ask regarding believers and unbelievers alike.

What if someone who is a believer sets a bad example for you with their spiritual conduct? What if that same person also eats up a lot of your time with things of the world? What if you feel that person is holding you back a bit? What if they use mind games, guilt trips and manipulation on you? Does anyone struggle with friends or family like this? Even believing family or friends?

It is encouraged to remain at arms'length, even away from any who after being made aware of certain error persist and are continuing in rebellion to God……..treat them as non-believers. Pray for them, love them, but do not participate in what they do.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
11,977
5,017
113
#12
When is it okay to keep people at a distance, even other believers? We must forgive, but at what point can we say we shouldn't tolerate manipulation, control or guilt trips?
Once a pattern of manipulation or controlling is discovered, one should politely walk away, regardless. There was a time before the set time for the crucifixion, when Christ walked away from his enemies. There were also times when He limited His ministry to Galilee, and went up to Jerusalem by stealth, thus avoiding His detractors and enemies.
 

Dan58

Senior Member
Nov 13, 2013
1,979
318
83
#13
To me, normal sinners (most of us) are people with a conscience. We all screw-up, but usually try to do better. A toxic sinner is one who is deliberate, they have no conscience or desire to correct themselves, they selfishly don't care who they offend. With toxic people, its best to use discernment and not open yourself up to be debased by their words, actions, or life-style. If we follow someone's bad example or allow ourselves to be manipulated by them, it says more about us then it does about them... jmo
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
31,370
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#14
Amos 3:3

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
 

Hevosmies

Well-known member
Sep 8, 2018
3,410
2,527
113
#15
Amos 3:3

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Hey Magenta. Is that your real hair? That must be your favorite color. I see it in your art work often. beautiful designs.
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
31,370
9,485
113
#16
Hey Magenta. Is that your real hair? That must be your favorite color. I see it in your art work often. beautiful designs.
Thank you, Hevosmies, and yes, that is my real hair, what is left of it LOL. I am in my sixties and my hair has thinned over the years; dying parts of it once in a while is a harmlessly fun thing to do :):D:)
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
14,537
7,837
113
#17
As those in Christ, I feel we are called to be merciful and forgiving to all, reconciling ourselves to others and that division in the body of Christ is unacceptable.

But the question arises in my mind:
When is it okay to keep people at a distance, even other believers? We must forgive, but at what point can we say we shouldn't tolerate manipulation, control or guilt trips? At what point is it okay to not speak to someone for a while? Or even, indefinitely? This question I ask regarding believers and unbelievers alike.

What if someone who is a believer sets a bad example for you with their spiritual conduct? What if that same person also eats up a lot of your time with things of the world? What if you feel that person is holding you back a bit? What if they use mind games, guilt trips and manipulation on you? Does anyone struggle with friends or family like this? Even believing family or friends?
Welcome to CC! I commend you for an excellent question to prompt thought and discussion. I'll respond further in a bit.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
14,537
7,837
113
#18
As those in Christ, I feel we are called to be merciful and forgiving to all, reconciling ourselves to others and that division in the body of Christ is unacceptable.

But the question arises in my mind:
When is it okay to keep people at a distance, even other believers? We must forgive, but at what point can we say we shouldn't tolerate manipulation, control or guilt trips? At what point is it okay to not speak to someone for a while? Or even, indefinitely? This question I ask regarding believers and unbelievers alike.

What if someone who is a believer sets a bad example for you with their spiritual conduct? What if that same person also eats up a lot of your time with things of the world? What if you feel that person is holding you back a bit? What if they use mind games, guilt trips and manipulation on you? Does anyone struggle with friends or family like this? Even believing family or friends?
Jesus addresses this in Matthew 18:
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

The key that many people miss with regard to so-called "toxic people" is showing their sin to them. If you just stew in resentment about someone's behaviour, you have no grounds on which to exclude them from your life. If, in contrast, you clearly explain what it is they are doing that hurts you (with backup and the support of the Church, as an escalating response), and they don't change, you have solid footing on which to withdraw fellowship.

What many people also miss is the idea of treating people as pagans or tax collectors: you don't expect Christian behaviour from non-Christians, and instead you share the gospel (repent and believe in Jesus) with them as you have opportunity. You don't let them have free access to your life.

As to manipulation (etc.), Christians have no obligation to put up with other people's c**p. Identify it, call it out, and refuse to comply. People will get the message and change their ways, or they won't, and you withdraw from them.

Henry Cloud and John Townsend did a great job with their book Boundaries. It addresses many related concepts and gives sound biblically-based strategies for handling such situations.
 
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7seasrekeyed

Guest
#19
To me, normal sinners (most of us) are people with a conscience. We all screw-up, but usually try to do better. A toxic sinner is one who is deliberate, they have no conscience or desire to correct themselves, they selfishly don't care who they offend. With toxic people, its best to use discernment and not open yourself up to be debased by their words, actions, or life-style. If we follow someone's bad example or allow ourselves to be manipulated by them, it says more about us then it does about them... jmo
pretty much in agreement except for the 'saying more about us'..

people who fit the toxic or no conscience profile, are adept at choosing who to practice their arts on

I used to think if a person said they were a Christian, they actually were a Christian

it was a little hard reaching all the knives in my back from those good Christians :(

sometimes people are manipulated through love and trust and not because they are stupid (I know you didn't say stupid)

actually, Christians are good marks because they are seen in a certain light and too many have the idea we are just supposed to be taking it and just cannot get our fill of being 'used'

hard lessons to learn