Disagreements are part of life.
No matter how much you have in common with someone, there will be things that you differ on. No matter how close you are to someone, there will be things between you that don’t click. No matter how much you love someone, and they love you, there will be disagreements.
That’s life. Part of having a healthy relationship is learning to deal with disagreements in a respectful, constructive way.
But there are some people that you literally cannot have a healthy relationship with.
No matter how nice you are to them, no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do for them – those people are toxic for you.
They may be toxic to everyone. Or it may be just the specific mix of you and them that brings out their worst. I don’t really care which it is. How they got to be toxic doesn’t matter.
Because this isn’t about them. This is about you. And people who are toxic for you.
Sometimes it’s easy to tell who the toxic people are.
Their anger, their resentment towards you is obvious. They’re happy to work against you, to tear you down every chance they get. And they don’t care who knows it.
Sometimes it’s not so easy to tell who the toxic people are.
Maybe it’s not so obvious. Whether they’re just really good at hiding it. Or you’re numb to the signs because it’s been going on for so long. Or they’re too close to you for you to see it.
Which makes you very vulnerable.
This is exactly what Jesus is dealing with in today’s Gospel. People who should have been Jesus’ friends and allies. Scribes and Pharisees. People who looked and sounded just like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.
Only they weren’t loyal like Joseph of Arimathea, who risked his life to give Jesus a proper burial. They didn’t love like Nicodemus, who poured his heart out to Jesus.
They looked and sounded like friend and allies, but they were toxic for Jesus.
How could Jesus tell they were toxic? Jesus saw past their appearances, past their words. Jesus saw their intentions. And their intentions were nothing but toxic.
Intentions always give them away. And you don’t have to be God’s son to look past words and appearances, to see someone’s intentions.
Seeing someone’s intentions is a gift from God (St. John called it discerning spirits). But it’s a gift that God freely gives, just for the asking.
When you do see their intentions, you’ll know who is toxic. It may even be some of the people closest to you.
Knowing who’s toxic for you, what can you do about it?
More on this tomorrow.Read More