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Is it God's love or toxic love?

by Sandra Turner

How do you tell if it's a toxic love relationship you are involved in? If it makes you sick - emotionally, mentally, and then physically, you are involved in toxic love with a person whom you are allowing to harm you.

The love of God sustains, supports, gives, puts the other person first, puts the other person's interests above its own and is offered and given out of fullness, out of that life of God on the inside.

Toxic love says, "Please, please love me. Please be to me what I need. Please fill this empty place in me." And that can never happen because nothing can ever fill that empty place except the love of God. No human being has what it takes to satisfy your hunger for love. God created that hunger for Himself.

God's love says, "I have so much, I am so full I want to share it with you. God is moving me to pour out some of His fullness out of myself into you."

One of the easiest ways in which people become involved in a toxic love relationship is with an addict or an alcoholic or with someone else who cannot have a healthy relationship because they are consumed by a need for what they are addicted to. To these people, while they can be deceitfully charming, other human beings are of little worth. They are to be used and when they lose their usefulness, they are expendable.

If you get into a relationship with one of these people, you are setting yourself up for heartache and hurt because they are totally consumed with themselves and what they want and need. And they will draw you into their illness through toxic love.

In contrast, the love of God says to these people, " I will pray for you and I will give you the same choice God gives you - to make your own decisions and your own choices about your life and to suffer the consequences. But I will not sacrifice to you my life, my mind, my emotions, or my body. These belong to God. I will use them as He tells me to. I will fulfill His plan in my life and I will keep my mind and my emotions clear and calm so that I can hear Him when he speaks to me.

"God has something for me to do. I have decided I will follow Him. I will not be torn apart by my emotions. I will have His peace and His joy. And if I don't have His peace and His joy, but turmoil and tumult on the inside, then I know I have missed it. I know I have fallen into idolatry, a sin that seeks fulfillment in another person rather than in God."

Pray for people, correct people if you can, steer them in the right path, sow the seed of God's Word, and let them make their own decisions. Don't tie yourself up emotionally to people who will only destroy you. If they will not do right, let them go. Allow them to make their own choices about how they will live their lives.

A healthy love relationship will always affirm you and build you up. It will move you in a positive direction toward God's plan and purpose for your life. You'll be blessed because of this relationship, not cursed. You'll be warm and safe, not fearful and constantly on an emotional roller coaster.

If you have a problem with an addicted person, go to an Al-Anon meeting or an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area. These groups teach you how to let go of the problem person in your life and get your own life straightened out.

c 1997 Sandra S. Turner

Reprinted from Singles Scene/Spirit & Life, a nationwide meeting place for Christian Singles since 1981.