Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. - Titus 3:10 (NIV)
Ellen was trapped in an abusive relationship. She married a volatile but persuasive man who showed her his love by controlling her thoughts, her appearance, her friends, and her words. She felt trapped. Her fear was greater than her ability to stand up to him and move on.
Donald was trapped in an abusive relationship. He worked for a company that demanded his obedience 24 hours per day. His productivity outpaced his coworkers two times over, yet he was continually berated, his job threatened, and consistently skipped over for raises. His fear was greater than his ability to move on.
From the outside, abusive relationships seem easy to avoid. However, the inside of abuse is less about what the victim has done and more about the darkness inside the heart of the abuser. If we remain in the presence of divisive, controlling, abusive people for too long – our soul is drained and replaced with hopelessness. This is no way to live – God has so much more in store for His creation.
When we find Christ to be our rock, our strength, our refuge… we find the courage to stand toe-toe with divisive people. We match actions of others against truth of God to find perspective. We gain the strength to stand up and find our voice.
Take this divisive or abusive relationship to a much larger scale. We Christians live daily inside an abusive relationship with the world. The world berates us, attempts to control us, and works overtime to keep us locked away from our mission. The world is divisive and wants nothing more than to deplete our soul.
- How long should we linger in that place, with those people – hoping to show them Christ’s love?
- At what point do we shake the dust off our sandals and move on?
The answers come in prayer. But rest assured, if you can no longer see God or find His voice in your soul because of that relationship – get out.
God designed you for this time and this place. He knew you before the first day was ever created (Psalm 139). The creator of the universe crafted your voice to be strong, present, and bold. Perhaps today is the day you rise – stand – and move on.
We can’t change people – that’s God’s job. However, God can use you to change relationships. Show God’s love through strength. Offer an invitation to His Grace and mercy. If the divisive, manipulative person doesn’t want to hear it – move on. Just move on… it’s biblical (if you need that affirmation).
Never allow the world to push you into a corner. Never stay in a dangerous relationship that forces you to compromise your faith.
Stand up – step out – move on.
THE RIGHT NEXT STEP
Examine every relationship with the following question: Does it hinder me from being the person God built me to be?
PRAY: God, show me the contents of my heart. I want to know if my actions line up with your truth. Prompt me to warn those around me who are outside your truth, and give me the strength to walk away from divisive people and abusive relationships. Amen.