"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Relationships are tricky. People are flawed. Our hearts are easily manipulated and sometimes even forced into denial by our own thoughts. So, with the understanding that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship...friendship, romantic, family, or otherwise...how do we truly know how to guard our hearts and discern between imperfect but healthy relationships and unhealthy toxic ones? The answer...Ask yourself if you reflect God's love towards one another. Sure, that sounds very simplistic but honestly, how many of us have considered that and still ignored the red flags that God has made clear to us?
Proverbs 4:23 shares the wisdom of God in relation to our hearts but 1 Corinthians 13 breaks it down for us and helps us to actually apply it to our own lives.
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
- Practices Patience
- Treats Each Other with Kindness
- Finds Joy in Each Other's Blessings & Successes
- Stays Humble
- Gives Unselfishly
- Slow to Become Angry with One Another
- Doesn't Hold Grudges
- Trusts One Another
- Believes the Best In Each Other
- Endures Hardships Together
- Frequently Get Impatient with One Another
- Isn't Considerate of Each Other's Feelings
- Jealous of the Other's Successes and Blessings
- Prideful - Doesn't Easily Admit Wrongdoings - Arrogant
- Only Thinks About What Will Benefit Them - Doesn't Consider Others' Needs
- Easily Angered or Annoyed
- Holds Grudges/Doesn't Forgive Easily
- Suspicious and Untrusting of One Another
- Assume the Worst of Each Other
- Abandons the Relationship when Things Get Difficult or When It No Longer Suits Their Desires
Obviously we all struggle with less than admirable personality traits but look at these lists from a bird's-eye view. Are these things the "banner", so to speak, of your relationship. Are they constants? If you are in a relationship right now that just doesn't feel quite right to you, I urge you to pray hard over these lists and ask God to speak to you through your intuition. He gave it to you for a reason. I like to think of it as His still, small voice. I, myself, have CHOSEN to turn away from that voice in the past and even though it would have been excruciatingly painful to walk away from the toxic people in my life, I know now that it would have been a small sacrifice in comparison to where those relationships landed me. God does not desire unhealthy relationships for us...no matter how much we may love the other person. He ALWAYS has something...SOMEONE he wants to bless you with that is so much more than you could have ever chosen for yourself. Unfortunately, we sometimes take the long way around to find them.