One of the bywords of our generation is “toxic”. We are warned to avoid toxic people whose chronically negative attitudes and actions damage us physically and emotionally. This is wisdom. Boundaries are important.
But what about spiritually toxic people? How can they affect us, and why is it so important that we know how to recognize and avoid them?
A spiritually toxic person is one whose words, actions, and attitudes negatively impact your relationship with God.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”. If you allow spiritually toxic people to impede your access to God, it will be reflected in your own words and actions, and ultimately in your own spiritual reputation.
It’s no secret that we become like what we spend the most time with. The only way we will see spiritual growth, maturation, and progress is if we spend regular time with God, reading His Word, fellowshipping with His people, communicating with Him, and listening to what He has to say, without allowing anything to come between.
I have raised several children, and at some point in each of their teenage years, I have found myself reminding them of the importance of choosing their friends wisely. Friends who have lower moral standards are never benign… they always, every time, negatively affect the person who chooses to spend large amounts of time with them. If their friends are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex, they will ultimately feel pressured to do the same. If I want my children to make wise choices that will benefit them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I need to teach them to limit their association with people who are not making wise choices.
We tend to level out at the lowest common denominator, when it comes to spiritual things. I want my children, and myself, to condition ourselves to always be reaching for a higher level. The only way to do this is to make sure nothing comes between us and our focus on what is spiritually healthy.
If the people you are spending time with keep you from growing spiritually, they are toxic. If the activities you enjoy keep you from spending time with God, they are toxic. If the sermons you are hearing from the pulpit do not line up with what the Bible says, they are toxic.
If our goal is spiritual health, avoiding toxic people and situations is crucial. Don’t sacrifice your spiritual health by allowing anything to come between you and God.