There seems to be a growing trend these days to give up on people. To throw in the towel on our personal relationships and justify it by calling other people toxic. Everywhere I look on social media, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, memes are posted describing the need to walk away from toxic people. The memes state that you either need to walk away or let them go.
But what exactly is the meaning of toxic? How are these people toxic?
Do we not live in a fallen world?
Are we not called to love the broken sinner?
I understand how difficult it is to love a broken person who is close to you. There’s a risk in every relationship you have. Whether it be your mother, your friend, your spouse, your child, you sibling, your mentor- chances are, every human you are in a relationship with will hurt you. Eventually people will say or do something cruel, whether it be due to ignorance, anger, or out and out cruelty, our relationships contain hurt. We are humans. We make mistakes, we speak before we think, we put our feet in our own mouths, we lie, we sin. I am thankful that Christ never labeled me as toxic, I am thankful that when he prayed in the garden asking His Father to take this cup from Him, that God didn't respond by saying Christ didn't have to die, because humanity was toxic and didn't deserve saving. I’m glad Christ never walked away, I’m glad he never let me go.
I’m sure I've pissed some people off. I've been there. I spent the better part of the year not talking to my family because they hurt me, and I justified my unforgiveness time and time again. I closed my ears to Christ’s call to love, to forgive 70x7 times, because I kept picking at the scabs at my emotional wounds and I convinced myself that turning my back on my loved ones was what I needed to do to protect myself.
But, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. We don’t believe we’re strong enough to forgive, we don’t believe we can survive the trials of this life. We forget that Christ is our strength; we forget that He came to give us life and give it to us abundantly. We justify giving up by labeling people as toxic, when they are just like us, broken humans. So we throw up excuses, we walk away, and post lame memes all over the internet to justify our weakness.
I don’t know about you but I’m sick of excuses in the guise of dignity. I’m sick of the world broadcasting to me that we’re just supposed to give up on each other. I’m sick of a world that seeks instant gratification and momentary peace at the cost of real relationship. I’m sure Jesus wasn't filled with warm fuzzies for humanity when nails were being driven through his hands and feet. I’m pretty sure His flesh would have liked to walk away, to let us go, instead of taking on the sins of the world. We are wholly and mightily loved by the God of the universe. And what does He command us to do? To love the Lord our God with all hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He did notsay only love the neighbors who are good to you, He did not say love your neighbors until they hurt you. He simply said to love. When we call others toxic, when we call for the excision of people from our lives, we seem to forget our own sins, we seem to suddenly view the rest of the world from a pedestal of sinlessness.
Can we please stop posturing and pretending like our happiness is the most important thing? Our world is full of hurting people, we could use a little love and forgiveness and little less justification.