I’m going to be the first to raise my hand and say, “I love psychology.”
I love a healthy splash of psychology with my theology in deep, dark discussions. I love understanding the brain *and* soul of a human being, and the great strides we’ve taken lately to understand neurological health as well as physical health. We promote mental health, we discuss it, we share about it – overshare sometimes – and we have learned to take a second look into what makes people tick and how they have been shaped and/or damaged from childhood. We see shrunken, atrophied hippocampuses and huge, leaky hypothalamuses that prove personality disorders and PTSD are as real as seizures.
And I eat that stuff for lunch. I find it fascinating, and my heart beats for these people. ❤
Yes, some people take it too far, and special snowflakeism isn’t a fun thing. Often, the spiritual side of things – the ugly sin stuff – is overlooked, and pills are popped maybe too often. But on the whole, I think my generation of Millennials have started identifying something very real and very dangerous and very prevalent. And I applaud some of those new strides in mental healthcare and identification of mental health problems.
There’s a buzzword that’s become a disappointing trend. Spoken often, spoken loudly, and spoken with force.
And that word is “TOXIC.”
People are now being labeled “toxic.”
And we don’t mean “a good kisser,” Britney Spears.
We mean dangerous, poisonous, irredeemable.
The Google dictionary definition for toxic is simple. A single word. “Poisonous.” Toxicity levels measure the amount of harmful poison. Toxic means the substance is inedible. Damaging. Hazardous.
Synonyms for “toxic” include noxious, venomous, and deadly.
Unless you’re challenging a Sicillian as the Dread Pirate Roberts in a Princess Bride movie, toxic substances are always going to be toxic. Almost no one can adapt. They drink cyanide and they’re going to die. Plain and simple. Toxins don’t become less toxic with time. They don’t change their substance. They’re inconsumable. Period.
Folks, we can’t label people as poisons. We can’t write them off as forever poisons. They aren’t made of venom.
Situations can be toxic. Actions can be toxic. Behavior can be toxic. Speech can be toxic.
But a human soul is not a committed poison, never to be anything but a poison. A human being is not cyanide. They’re made in God’s image, and they always, always, always have the ability of being redeemed.
I understand what you’re trying to say: But this person is abusive, harmful, deadly to me, and I need to remove myself. YES. By all means, do that. This isn’t a blog post to promote remaining in abusive situations, waiting for people to change.
But if God could save the chief of sinners (Hint, it’s me. Oh wait. And Paul.), then he can save anyone. Call the situation toxic if you must. Remove yourself. Walk away. Go no contact. Call the police. Seek church discipline. Block the number. But label the human being a sinner like everyone else. Pray for them (from a distance!) Pray for repentance. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in their hearts and bring them to salvation. In our sin nature, we are all seeped in toxic behavior. But God didn’t see us as icky. Christ died for our toxic sinfulness. He may choose to save them like He did you.
People aren’t toxic. Behavior is toxic.
So leave. Be safe.
But don’t label people as permanent poisons.