A Prayer for the Toxic People in Your Life - Your Daily Prayer - May 3

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A Prayer for the Toxic People in Your Life
By Kelly Balarie

“For each one should carry their own load.” – Galatians 6:5 NIV

I thought my friend and I were closer than this... Yet, this woman, whom I considered “a friend,” was now acting like a total stranger. Maybe it was because there were other women around. Maybe it was because she was having a bad day. Maybe it was that she felt nervous in her own right. At the same time, this wasn’t the first time we spent time together, laughed, and enjoyed one another… Why was she treating me this way? 

Ugh. With all this happening, I needed to get away from the situation and sort out why I felt so slighted. I left the ladies and retreated to the one place I could be alone – the bathroom. Standing there, I caught my reflection in the mirror. Is there something wrong with me? One never can tell. Maybe it is I who has done something wrong. Maybe it is I that is off. Even so, was it right for her to cut me down to size like she did when I opened my heart before everyone? When I spoke up, she launched an arrow-to-the-heart comment. Ouch. That hurt. It wasn’t just the comment, it was her whole way of acting. Now, she embarrassed me before everyone.

Maybe I should have tougher skin. Yet, this keeps happening. I find myself friends with people who cut me subtly and repeatedly, with 1000 little papercuts, over time. There’s never one cut large enough for me to merit a good reason to actually leave them. So, I stick around. 

Yet, time and time again, I ask myself:

  1. How is it my fault?
  2. How can I change?
  3. How do I love them enough, or bear under them enough so they will actually love me too?

New friend? I don’t know if you’ve been there before? It is hard. 1000 little paper cuts, over time, can leave a woman red, raw, and sore on the inside. Painfully sore. Are you experiencing this? Maybe someone in your life is undercutting you. Maybe you are pulled close and then shoved away. Maybe you are dealing with passive-aggressive behavior that makes you doubt yourself. Maybe you are walking on eggshells all the time.

It is not easy.

The only thing I’ve come to terms with, as I seek to handle this hard situation, is Galatians 6:5. This verse presents the truth that “each man should carry his own load.” This means, my friend is responsible for her load; I am responsible for mine.  This friend is responsible for her actions, her issues, and her comments, and I am responsible for my actions, my issues, and my comments.

How does this play out practically?  

It plays out like this… I am not at fault for how another person acts. Their actions belong to them. What I am responsible for is my own reactions. If continuing in a friendship causes me to repeatedly sin by serving their insecurities above loving God (idolatry), by reacting rudely (strife or dissension) or by figuring out how to make myself good enough (striving) then I am setting myself up to sin. It may be wise for me to step back from a relationship like this. The lie is that I am not loving the person by disengaging. The truth is there is more power in praying for a person than repeatedly getting damaged by them.

Of course, there are covenant relationships that we can’t as easily step back from. My belief is that God gives abundant grace to things of covenant. It doesn’t always come in the timing we demand. The goal here, also, is prayer. When we pray for those who hurt us, we find the power of God to help us. 

These situations are not easy; they are nuanced. The key is not to allow a person’s actions to rob us of our worth for then we forget to look up for God’s grace. Instead, we see a million wrongs instead of God’s helping hand. God wants us to be in healthy relationships and He has all the grace we need to find people who genuinely love us and want to treat us right. 

Let’s pray:

Father, I feel hurt. I don’t know what I did to deserve this treatment. Will you heal my heart? Father? I forgive those people who hurt and offended me. I forgive them for not treating me as you would. I also ask you to forgive me for any anger, bitterness, or resentment that I have stored up in me. I release all that to you now. I am sorry. Father, I ask that now you would lead me to new friends, to life-giving friends, and to people who are honest and true. Help me not to take undue responsibility for other people’s problems and give me grace to love people well. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock Studio

headshot of Kelly BalarieKelly uplifts believers with boosts of faith; be encouraged weekly by getting Kelly’s blog posts by email. Kelly, a cheerleader of faith, is a blogger, national speaker, and author of Take Every Thought Captive, Rest Now, Battle Ready, and Fear Fighting. Kelly loves seeing the power of prayer in action. She loves seeing the expression on women’s faces when they realize – their God is faithful! Kelly’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CBN’s 700 Club, Relevant and Today’s Christian Woman

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