Satan is real. But he’s not going to appear with a pitchfork and devilish grin on his face. Rather, Satan knows the value of secrecy, subtly, and slow attacks that occur in such a way you don’t even notice them.
Therefore, here are 5 hidden ways Satan often tempts people into toxic relationships.
1. If Someone Is Too Good to Be True
Why do those crazy email scams actually work on some people? Why would anyone think they have been chosen by an unknown relative to be the sole inheritor of a massive fortune? Obviously there needs to be level of naiveness and gullibility that most people don’t possess in order for such a ridiculous scam to work. But another factor that’s needed is the desire in someone that wants this lie to be true.
I’m not saying it was someone’s fault if they were lied to and fell for that lie. While liars and scammers are solely to blame for their sins, we do need to accept that when we are deceived by someone, oftentimes there was something in us that wanted to believe this person so bad that we let ourselves get deceived too.
This is especially true when it comes to relationships. When you want that guy to be your night in shining armor who is finally able to tell you everything you wish every other guy would have said, it’s easier to let yourself fall for a pretender. When you want this woman to be beautiful woman who finally is won by your charm, it’s easier to miss that she’s just manipulating you.
All the to say, as we all know, if someone seems to good to be true, usually they are. Eventually you need to see some flaws in someone, otherwise it’s a guarantee they are hiding things from you because according to Scripture only Jesus is perfect (Romans 3:23).
2. If You Are Going to This Person to Ease an Internal Wound
We need to be humble enough to know that sometimes we are a part of the variables that can make a relationship toxic.
Toxic relationships are not only created by an individual with bad, selfish intentions. Rather, most times, toxic relationships are formed through the pairing of two people with the right wounds to cause an explosive combination when they are together.
This is why we must not try to solve our fears, self-esteem issues, and internal wounds through being with another human. We must take these issues to God. Only Jesus can heal and validate us. A relationship with another person is a big blessing from God. But it’s a blessing to be enjoyed through the health you possess in Christ, not a blessing that is meant to heal your wounds and ease your pains. A person can help you find healing in Christ and point you to Christ. But they are not Christ and thus they cannot be the solution to your heart’s deepest needs.
As David prayed, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you” (Psalm 16:2). This doesn’t mean we can’t have other good things besides God in our life. Rather, it means that without God, nothing else will be good for us. Only when we are complete in him can we experience the goodness of other blessings in a balanced, healthy way.
3. If You Are Being Tempted to Give Someone Another Chance Even Though Nothing Has Really Changed
Proverbs 26:11 comes off a bit harsh, but it’s a truth we all need to take to heart. It says, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” Ouch. But it’s true. I’m never more foolish than when I make a mistake I’ve already made before.
In relationships, sometimes the variables change. If an unbeliever becomes a believer and starts showing the fruits of the Spirit, if someone gets counseling and really works on themselves, or time goes by and you and this person both mature a lot – these could change the dynamics between you two and cause a relationship to work that did not work before.
But in the overwhelming amount of cases, people who give a relationship another try end up getting the exact same results as the first time. If nothing has changed, it’s unwise to think the relationship will be different this time.
4. If Godless Family and Friends Are the Driving Force Behind This Relationship
One of the most common reasons Christians get into bad relationships is that they are getting bad advice from people they love.
Perhaps you are a young man trying to honor Jesus, but your dad is not a Christian and he’s telling you how to treat women.
Or maybe you are a middle-aged Christian woman and your unsaved mother is telling you that you are being too picky and you need to give non-Christian men a chance. Psalm 1:1-2 teaches us:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
5. If Your Compassion Is Being Manipulated By a Troubled Person
The fact that someone needs help is not an automatic sign from God that you are the person who can help them. Manipulative people have a nose for compassionate people. Don’t let your kindness turn into weakness. Don’t let someone make you feel so bad for them that you walk out of God’s will for your life.
Remember what Jesus said, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matthew 7:6). If that’s not the definition of a toxic relationship, I don’t know what is.