REFLECT: Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it: Ecclesiastes. 12:6-7
APPLY: With toxic relationships, timing is key.
In the time it takes for us to admit that a relationship is toxic (and thus despite the ties that bind, not one to be endured), we often sustain harm that could have been avoided by earlier action.
The story of Joseph is instructive once again, this time looking at his dilemma with his boss’ lustful wife (Genesis 39: 1-23).
Joseph had done nothing to invite the attention of Potiphar’s wife’s other than being well built and handsome. He rebuffed her enticements to illicit sex, yet he made the mistake of underestimating her resolve.
If he had not only rebuffed her efforts, but had also cut off his availability e.g. by inwardly resolving that he would avoid being alone with her, his story may have been different (even if he still ended up in the prison that God had decided to use as a route to bless him (Genesis 39: 19-23))
By all means be forbearing and forgiving, but know when enough is enough.
As a rule, toxic people do not change their harmful ways just because you call them on it. The character work they need to do is out of your control, and is a milestone they will accomplish at a time not of your choosing.
Your task is to retreat, to cut off access, by ending the relationship – completely, if need be. Do so sooner than later by exercising the power of choice that you DO have, to evade the relational harm that you WILL otherwise incur.
PRAY: Father God, reflecting on my relationships, I see I have been remiss in shirking the action needed to end relational toxicity in my life. Intimidated by the closeness and length of relationships, I have tolerated toxic behavior that undermines and harms me. I have avoided action because it is confronting, draining, awkward. Thank you for helping me begin to distinguish situations where a firm boundary line – or termination – is needed rather than forbearance. I commit today – and going forward- to maintaining this boundary with Your help. Thank you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.