Greetings, brothers, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As a man who believes in Christ Jesus, there are oftentimes that I must face some very challenging truths about my own life. And I’d have to admit that more often than not there is always a sensation of immense fear tempting me to crawl into a corner (or under a rock!) to avoid dealing with my apparent failures. However, I so faithfully find also that whenever I do acknowledge and face such truths regarding my fallenness, I’m always met with freedom and peace in the end. For I find that bold courage to “own my mess” always catalyzes more faith and growth in my life as a man of faith. May we walk together now in considering a very important gut-wrenching truth in this short reading? For we desire to consider the topic of “That Toxic Brother”. And as we read through this edition, let each of us humbly ask, “Lord, am I ‘That Toxic Brother’?”
A rather insightful depiction of “A Toxic Person” is rendered in a July 2018 web-publication authored by by PsychCentral (Tartakovsky, 2018). In that article is described a deeply wounded person, though still quite lovely in various considerable respects. Yet this individual often goes about life possessing a victim’s mentality. According to this publication, this person’s woundedness produces “bullying” behavior, often manifested in being controlling and unreasonable regarding others’ boundaries. Consequently, the drama resultant of this tyrannical behavior has a noxious, negative effect on those within the social circle(s) of that dear wounded-soul. Quite often those around this individual often have a nagging sense of guilt and shame regarding their deep feelings of exhaustion and anxiety towards this hurting brother. For there is much dread among the company that the ‘Toxic’ keeps, due to their fear of being subjected to various forms of abuse by the ‘Toxic’- repeatedly. “Lord, am I ‘That Toxic Brother’?”
To understand the nature of toxicity we must comprehend the true meaning of the word (Dictionary, 2019). The word “toxic” originates from a Greek phrase which literally means “bow poison”. We can see from this ancient term that the purpose of this toxin was to hunt and kill game via bow-and-arrow for consumption. Furthermore, these same poisonous substances have been used throughout history to literally “hunt and kill” humans also. Individuals who are ‘Toxic Brothers’ may not even realize their dilemma, as the enemy of our souls employs their woundedness to blind them unto their own perilous ways. These perplexed souls are almost entirely unaware that they are carrying out a diabolical life-mission- at least for now- to kill the morale and camaraderie within their social circle(s). Thus, their current companions feel primal emotional sensations to simply survive- whether fight or flight. This is very much unlike the blessed favor, joy and peace that we believers should mutually share among one another. “Lord, am I ‘That Toxic Brother’?”
There is a rather expressive verse in the Bible where God shines his Light upon ‘That Toxic Brother’. It is found in Proverbs 18:9 which says, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” In this verse the term “great waster” in its original Hebrew language literally means to be a destroyer by any means necessary (Blue, 2019)- whether it’s by laying waste to a country, pulling down walls and/or killing animals and humans. But what is most striking about this verse is that it alludes to a relationship between the “great waster” and the “slothful”- that they are brothers! So, what does this mean? Does it mean that every toxic individual has a lazy brother? No, not at all! But the spirit of this verse speaks of a great sense of neglect, idleness and laziness regarding a person’s own welfare and life-progress that over time transforms the slothful one into ‘That Toxic Brother’. There are other examples of this same spiritual condition exemplified in the teachings of the Lord Jesus and His disciples (see Matthew 24:45 – 51, 1 Timothy 5:11 - 15). Please prayerfully read those verses in your spare time for more insight into this truth. For we can see therein those verses as well the same behavior patterns that show a relationship between idleness and drama, laziness and toxicity. For inaction and neglect lead to relationally destructive behavior. Therefore, we must ask, “Lord, am I ‘That Toxic Brother’?”
This truth is reminiscent of the old saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. For an idle person has the DNA for being ‘That Toxic Brother’. So then, friends, if that be true of any one of us, let each convicted person continually ask for the grace and strength of the Lord Jesus to be good stewards over our own lives, so that we may be blessed individuals and refreshment to others. God bless you!!
Blue Letter Bible (2019). Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon. Retrieved from: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H7843&t=KJV.
Dictionary.com, LLC. (2019). Definition of Toxic. Retrieved from: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/toxic.
Tartakovsky, M. (2018). What’s a Toxic Person & How Do You Deal With One?. Retrieved from: https://psychcentral.com/blog/whats-a-toxic-person-how-do-you-deal-with-one/.