What you take into yourself will affect what comes out of you. If you are breathing in too many of the toxic fumes of a negative person, eventually you will have inhaled so many toxins you will start releasing negativity as well.
While it is certainly unavoidable to be around toxic people sometimes like at work, at family events, or even at church gatherings, when it is in our power we often need to avoid being around these people for the sake of our own hearts.
So here are 3 signs God is calling you to avoid a negative person.
1. If a Negative Person Is Doing More Harm to You Than You Are Doing Good for Them, This Is a Sign God Is Leading You to Avoid This Person More
The world is full of people who struggle with being judgmental, harsh, pushy, unkind, and just being generally negative. If we are all being honest, we all struggle with negativity to some degree or the other. So we can’t say that the only solution to negative people is to avoid them. If that were true, we would all be avoiding each other because again we all are negative sometimes.
However, there are certain people who have given into being an extremely negative person. While God may lead you to try to love this person through a friendship and to try to help this person through your joy and positivity, there do come certain points in relationships and friendships where God says it’s time to put some distance between you two. God often will tell you to do this when this negative person is pulling you down far more than you are lifting them up. Notice the balance we are given in Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
That last line is crucial. You are no good to anyone when you allow those you are trying to help to pull you down. Eventually the human heart can only take so much when being around a negative person. So if the scales have started to tip in the wrong direction, this is a sign God is leading you to put up some healthy boundaries with this person. You may not need to avoid them completely, but you may need to avoid them more so you do not get worn out to the point of falling into temptation yourself like Galatians 6:1 warns against.
2. If You Are Starting to Mirror the Negativity of This Person, This Is a Sign God Is Telling You to Avoid This Person
As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” It’s so true. For good or bad, we become like the people we spend time with.
The Bible affirms this truth as well. For example, in 1 Corinthians 15:33 it states, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” Proverbs 13:20 states, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” And in Proverbs 22:24-25 it says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
These truths are very helpful for all our relationships, but they are especially true when it comes to the connection between a man and woman who are romantically interested in one another. When a Christian single person is looking to date someone for the purpose of marriage, they should be looking for a ministry partner and not someone who is a ministry unto themselves. In other words, don’t get unequally yoked under the lie that you are trying to help this person through dating.
God has called us to love the lost but not to the point where we become lost ourselves. You will know you need to start avoiding this negative person in your life when their negativity is starting to become your negativity.
3. If This Negative Person Is Becoming a Temptation to Sinfully Judge and Mock Them When They Are Not Around, This Is Probably a Sign God Is Calling You to Put Some Distance Between You and Them
Perhaps one of the least thought about dangers of spending too much time with a negative person is the resentment that you will start to feel towards this person because of how they make you feel. It’s unavoidable, negative people spread negativity. One of the ways we try to cope with this is by airing our frustrations about this person when they are not around. While our intentions are often good, this method of dealing with a negative person is not healthy.
When we are around this person, we are trying to be kind, patient, and understanding by listening to him or her “vent” while trying to offer helpful suggestions when we can work in a few words of our own. The problem with listening to someone else “vent” is that you are then the one “inhaling” what they are venting. When someone is venting they don’t really want to hear your counsel, so when you offer advice it goes in one ear and out the other.
You can endure this scenario every now and then, but if you get into this vicious cycle too often with this negative person, you will start to resent them. You will get so annoyed at listening to their negativity the temptation will be to gossip about them when they are not around. You will then find yourself “venting” to someone else about how tired you are of listening to this other person “venting.”
The difference between unhealthy “venting” and two friends supporting one another always comes down to the end result. What’s the outcome of the conversation? Does one person just want to constantly unload their junk onto someone else? Or is this an example of two Christians supporting, encouraging, and counseling one another?
The goal should be Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Notice there is a shared experience here, not a transferring of a burden onto someone else. When someone is trying to put their problems and negativity onto you rather than coming to you for genuine support and counsel, you will eventually start to resent him or her which is unhealthy for you.
If that is happening to you, God is probably telling you it’s time to start to avoiding this person more for the sake of your own walk with God.