Dealing With Toxic People

Dealing With Toxic People

Dealing With Toxic People

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV).

Dealing With Toxic People

Many years ago as a college student I took a biology class, and we spent some time learning about toxicology.  I remember learning about the toxic threshold, which is the exposure level or dose of an agent above which toxicity or adverse health effects can occur.

I recently listened to a radio show about “toxic” people on a local Christian station.  Clearly, exposure to these people is not lethal, but it is very problematic.  All of us can be toxic to others at times, and Christians are not immune.  Some Christians are particularly prone to being toxic due to arrogance or self-righteousness. 

A toxic person is driven by pride and ego.  They have a need for control, and their heart is often filled will hate, shame, or other negative emotions.  They are not aware of their problem and will become defensive and accusatory if even gently confronted.

As Christians we are all called into ministry through our baptism and our profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  In any ministry you will encounter toxic people.  I think many of us struggle to deal with these people.  As parents we want to model for our children how to live a life of ministry.  We want to be helpful but some of these people consume so much of our time and it feels as if our time is wasted because they are not receptive, and there is no progress.  I am blessed to minister to anybody in need, and I honestly don’t mind being placed in an uncomfortable position if I detect that I am being productive.  In other words, I want to see that even a mustard seed of conviction is present.  However, if there is no conviction then counseling will not yield good fruit, and I am not being a good steward of my time.

Time spent in ministry is holy and it is foolish to offer something valuable to someone who is unable to appreciate that value. The Bible speaks to this in Matthew 7:6, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”  Our job is to plant seeds, but it is wasteful to endlessly plant on rocky soil when there is so much fertile soil that needs to be sewn.  Matthew 7:13-14 expand on the reality that not all will respond to the invitation; “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” 

Ministry must be done in tandem with the Holy Spirit.  One of the guests on the radio show said, “without the Spirit we cannot receive God’s blessings.”  This comment made my mind wander to “…apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).   It also made me ponder on the power of humility.   If we keep ourselves humble, we reduce the chances of being toxic to others.  We also must realize that we may not be able to significantly help every person that we encounter.  Sometimes we have to stop and refer them to someone else and pray that our work with the Spirit did make a small positive impact, and the next person will be able to make more progress.

Prayer:  Dear God:  Please continue to be with us as we do ministry to glorify you.  Give us a sense of discernment to know when our efforts our futile, and it is time to refer to another brother or sister in Christ.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”  (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

Revival Starts With Your Heart

I once heard a pastor on the radio say that a great Christian revival will begin when everyone that attends church follows God’s word and tithes 10 percent to their church.  I thought to myself – yes, that would be a tremendous thing and the church universal could do great things with that money. I imagined the missions to foreign countries, feeding the homeless, programs aimed at youth, men, women, young couples, and elderly.

But then I thought, ‘a tithe should only be given out of love, not an obligation. The simple fact is that God does not need your money and His will shall be done regardless of your tithe. Your tithe is

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The Word of God in Malachi 3:10 reads, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough to store it.” So, by denying our tithe to God we are denying nothing to Him. However, we are denying ourselves a blessing. St. Paul sums this up beautifully in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We are told in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

I believe that revival starts when all people turn their focus on God rather than on themselves. Sin is the inevitable result of our natural tendency to focus on ourselves, our desires, our flesh, and our will. True revival will come, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). A key component of revival is for each husband in each house to submit to God and lead the way for his family to a Christ-centered life. In summary, consider the Word of God in Joshua 24:15: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Serve the Lord by giving Him your heart – your whole heart – and then YOU will may be the spark that starts the fire of revival. Revival won’t come due to giving back to God what already belongs to God (i.e., money), but it will come by giving him our heart – our whole heart.

Prayer:  Dear God, Help us to humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn our wicked ways, then we know You will hear from heaven, and You will forgive our sin and will heal our land. Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Promise Keepers Is Improving Lives

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“If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.  But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty.  Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth” (Deuteronomy 23:21-23 NIV).

Promise Keepers Is Improving Lives

In a world where regular church attendance seems to have taken a back seat to simply not being inconvenienced, it’s important to recognize all of the good that the faithful do. That’s because some of those who go above and beyond are volunteering with organizations designed to improve lives. Among those institutions is the Promise Keepers. This Christ-center organization has affected millions of lives for the better.

Overall, Promise Keepers has been lending a helping hand to men all over since 1990. Under the vision of “Equipping the local church through the Word of God to empower their men to transform the world,” this organization has undoubtedly encouraged many to turn to the word of God in

trying times. That means young adults and grown men alike have learned what it means to lead a pure life while supporting the mission of their local pastors. Under a mission of seven promises, those who join this effort are expected to help brothers in need, practice moral purity, build strong marriages, support their local church, honor Jesus Christ and so much more. Given the popularity of national conventions that Promise Keepers holds, the success of this institution as a force of good in the world has been proven. At its most recent 2017 gathering in Jacksonville, Florida, speakers such as NFL nose tackle Roy Miller, comedian Brad Stein and pastor Miles McPherson were among those addressing the attendees.  Many men dedicate or rededicate their lives to Christ at Promise Keepers and Iron Sharpens Iron conferences.

“Founded in 1990 by Coach Bill McCartney, Promise Keepers is one of the biggest movements of God in the history of the Church.”  I was blessed to meet the coach a few years ago at PK event in Baton Rouge.

“Promise Keepers will go back to its roots established in the early ‘90s. PK will have one major event per year.  For 2020, it will be July 31 – August 1 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the heart of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

The PK web site states that 2020 will be the year of our first big in-stadium event and will be a call to be men of action. We are not called to sit passively in a pew once a week. We’re called to change the world for Christ! We must be leading in our churches, assembling prayer groups, leading Bible studies and serving the poor. The event will be available for groups to simulcast. PK wants to actively engage churches all over the US and the world to make this their men’s retreat weekend – to come together to watch the event live. Imagine the unity that can occur in the church as millions of men watch the same speakers, sing the same songs and pray the same prayers together? Imagine if many of those same men go through the same deep, direct Bible study together during that fall? Jesus said that where two or more are gathered together in His name, He is there with them (Matthew 18:20). We want to have our Lord present with hundreds of thousands of small groups that are formed after the Promise Keepers event, studying His Word and crying out to Him for our nation.

Promise Keepers’ goal is to bring about revival through a global movement that calls men back to courageous, bold, leadership. PK will be the spark that calls men back to God’s Word, sharing their faith and caring for the poor and oppressed throughout the world. PK will be a platform to men’s ministries, churches and ministries by fully participating with them, promoting them and supporting them. PK is a one-time per year stadium event only. PK intends to drive all other issues to the ministries that specialize in them.”

For more information and to get tickets, visit promisekeepers.org.

Note: Quotes taken from www.promisekeepers.org

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.