As a therapist and relationship blogger, I’ve been hearing about a lot of bad relationships lately. Christian friends, community, and clients opening up and sharing about their struggles, weaknesses, and straight-up dysfunction in the area of boy + girl.
Turn on any TV station and you’ll tune into some divorce, break up, or relationship tragedy that’s occurring in the world around us. Listen in on any gossip at the office and you’ll hear about heart-break, lying, cheating, and manipulation. Sometimes, relationships can be really toxic.
But what’s MOST surprising to me is not the occurrence of these relationships, but how little Christians talk about them.
Toxic relationships exist all over the world, and guess what, they exist in Christian relationships as well. And the truth is, just because someone calls themselves a Christian, doesn’t make them healthy. Christian people are flawed, sinful, and broken human beings just as much as the other guys. Take that combination into any relationship and you’re bound to find a toxic concoction at somewhere at some point.
So what is keeping us from bringing these things into the light? Why are we so silent when it comes to dealing with unhealthy relationships?
I believe it’s because the enemy wants to shame us into believing that we have to keep quiet.
Scripture says that whatever is in darkness will be healed as it comes into the light. It’s time to break the silence about dysfunctional relationships by starting to have these conversations and by starting to be real with one another within the body of Christ.
Christian or not, it’s time to take inventory of the relationship you are in (whether dating or married) and ask yourself if it’s good, honoring, uplifting, and whether or not it’s bringing glory to God. We are called to be actively engaged in relationships in which we are giving and exchanging hope one to another; relationships in which we are spreading God’s love like it’s a contagious disease.
But toxic relationships look nothing like that.
They rob you of your joy, take away your hope, and fool you into believing that this is what you deserve.
You might be in a toxic relationship if you commonly feel the sting of manipulation, jealousy, envy and rage. God calls us into relationships that are full of patience and love.
Maybe you’re feeling controlled: unable to say what you want, do what you want, or believe what you want. God’s love brings us into hope and freedom.
Maybe the toxicity of addictions, drugs and alcohol are seeping into your relationship and in turn are destroying your life. God wants to help break away from these chains and give you the power to live freely.
What if you keep getting led into dark places, places of lust and seduction that leave you feeling guilt and shame. God wants to shine His light upon your life, and forgive you in the best way He knows how to forgive completely.
Maybe you’re being beat down verbally, ripped of your dignity and self-worth. God wants you to know that you are His beloved: worth far more than precious rubies and more valuable than the finest of pearls.
You may be feeling the sting of physical abuse, the infliction of physical pain that breaks your spirit even more than it breaks your body. God has felt the sting of physical abuse in order to free you from your own…His stripes and wounds are a sign that you deserve to forever be free of yours.**
If you’re married, DON’T LOSE HOPE. Seek pastoral and professional help immediately…begin the restoration process even if that means doing it alone. It’s a long road, but I have seen God take some of the most broken pieces, and put them back together again.
If you’re in a dating relationship, it’s time to STOP and believe that you were made for so much more than this. Take the time to learn about what a healthy relationship looks like, and then believe that for yourself.
It’s time to break free and allow God to bring you healing and restore your hope.
It’s time to stop waiting for the change, and begin creating the change yourself. It’s time to step out of the grip of the past, and into something new. It’s time to acknowledge these dark places and bring them into the light of His healing. It’s time to get real, to get honest, and to get help**.
**For more assistance in breaking free of toxic relationships, go to www.aacc.net (American Association of Christian Counselors) to find some professional help in your area.
To read more about this topic: How to Get Out of Toxic Relationships
Debra Fileta is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
To learn more about healthy relationships, check out True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life! It’s a book that’s changing hearts and lives, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that!
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