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Radioactive Relationships
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Timothy 2:16-17; ...
Track 11 of 12 in the Soul Detox series
Running time: 56 minutes, 40 seconds.
While it is true that others cant control you, it is also true that others can (and do) influence you. It is tempting to think you can help or even rescue, those playing in the gutter of their toxic lifestyles. In some cases, youll be able to assist and encourage these individuals. But if the majority of your closest relationships are with people living a life displeasing to God, more often than not, they will bring you down long before you bring them up.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Radioactive Relationships
Loving Unhealthy People without Getting Sick

The holiday season is quickly approaching and for many families this is the time when we all start planning family get-togethers. Christmas is that time when family plays an important role in celebrating the holiday season. It is fun to get everyone together and have fun and tell old family stories. In many cases we invite members of the family we normally don’t see very often or just try to stay away from most of the year. Some of the funniest times in our family history took place during Christmas.

How about you; do you have that one relative who might seem normal at times but has these crazy spells that make you want to wear a straight jacket and be placed in a padded cell? Do you have family members, cousins, aunts, or uncles that seem to be offspring from the Munster or Adams families? How many of you have relatives who give you the creeps just by showing up?

Every family has at least one of these off-the-charts challenging persons. If you’re tempted to tell us that yours doesn’t, then I hate to be the one to break it to you, but maybe you are the one. While I might be exaggerating a bit, you have to admit that there are people around us that are great blessings; but we also have some that can be extremely difficult.

Do you know what it means to have an inner circle of relationships? These people are usually the ones you all to have direct access to you at anytime, anywhere. They usually are the ones who are close and know you the best. In most cases, these are the people you use to obtain advice, share your thoughts with and spend most quality time with.

When you consider your inner circle of family and friends, what percentage are life-giving, loving and inspiring? That leaves a percentage that can be life-draining, hateful or even depressing. With those people, why have you included them in your inner circle?

George Washington said it this way, Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

How many of you believe this is a true statement? How many of you are very picky when it comes to letting quality people in close to your mind and heart? What can happen when we aren’t so picky about who we associate with and allow those who don’t respect good character or behavior?

True or False: The people closest to you will be your greatest spiritual asset or your worse spiritual curse.

For those of you who say true, how does this actually work? How do these relationships affect you? How many of you think it really doesn’t matter who you spend time with? Others don’t make you who you are.

While it is true that others can’t control you, it is also true that others can (and do) influence you. It is tempting to think you can help or even rescue, those playing in the gutter of their toxic lifestyles. In some cases, you’ll be able to assist and encourage these individuals. But if the majority of your closest relationships are with people living a life displeasing to God, more often than not, they will bring you down long before you bring them up.

1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

There are two truths found in this verse. On is obvious, the other is either overlooked or just plain ignored. What are they?

Paul started this thought with the phrase, “don’t be misled” because when it comes to hanging out with the wrong people, so many of us can become misled. In fact the process often goes like this:

Misled → Tolerant → Corrupt

Now this seems like a no-brainer but in the midst of real relationships, it can be hard to see. And even when we are aware of a dysfunctional relationship, it can be hard to do something about it.

First of all do you believe this is true? If true, why is it hard to get away or cut off the relationship? What are the dynamics that affect judgment and making correct decisions?

Paul loved Timothy as a person but most of all as someone who was very close to him. Paul trusted Timothy to stay behind after he would leave a group of Christians to nurture and mature a congregation. In his letter to Timothy he warned him to be very careful of the people he allowed into his inner circle.

2 Timothy 2:16-17
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

This phrase, “Godless Chatter” refers to conversations or discussions that are “ungodly”. The warning from Paul is; if we allow these things to creep into our lives by the people we hang out with, slowly, like gangrene these relationships will devour our souls thus corrupting our thinking away from God. The wrong relationships corrupt, pollute, infect, rot, and destroy good character.

Toxic Trinity

Can anyone explain to me the concept of the Holy Trinity?
What would be the concept of the unholy trinity?
Can you guess what the toxic trinity would be like?

There are three common types of toxic people. They are common and can be found in any family, office, church or neighborhood. We might not be able to keep these people out of our lives but we must be very aware of their toxic influences and limit our exposure to them.

Chronic Critic:
• They find fault in everything
• Nothing you do is right
• They seldom agree with anything you do or find interest in
• The negative person can wear on you
• Their criticism is never constructive
• Their judgmental attitude clogs your heart
• Their gossip can affect your opinion of others
• These people have the unholy gift of complaining.

Who are some of the examples in the Bible who were like this that God singles out as being a real burden to someone’s character?

Exodus 14:10-12 (NIV)
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!"

14 times the Israelites whined and complained that it was better to have stayed in Egypt than to die out in the desert.

• Overbearing, forcing their way or opinions upon you
• They get to make all the decisions.
• If you are married to a controller, you might feel you are losing your personal identity.
• Seldom do you get to make the simplest of decisions.
• To get a long you do everything to avoid a fight.
• These people know how to manipulate you and their favorite weapon of choice is guilt.

• This type encourages you to do things you shouldn’t do or normally wouldn’t want to do.
• These people are not normally horrible people but they expose your innocence to unholy opportunities in life.

Examples of the tempter in the Bible? Satan, Eve, Bathsheba, Samson.

The solution to all of this is to learn how to set properly placed fences in your life. We first learn what the boundaries are by reading God’s Word. He clearly stakes out the areas that are healthy for us to grow and mature in and he lets it be clear what influences in life are not safe to travel. What does a properly placed fence do? It helps us keep the bad out and the good in.

True or False: Jesus loved everyone equally but he didn’t treat everyone equally.

If this is true, why? Jesus was God so why did he have to set up fences in his life?

Jesus loved the whole world and he died to save the whole world but when he recruited his close disciples, he didn’t choose 12,000; he only chose 12 to be in his inner circle. Even though he was God, he too was careful who he allowed in close to him.

One of the most interesting passages I find is in Matthew 16. Even his closest friends could sometimes be a temptation to him. Jesus never allowed anyone or anything distract him from what his mission was.

Matthew 16:21-23 (NIV)
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

I don’t suggest that we say to those who attempt to lead us in a direction that is not good for us the same line Jesus used on Peter; but what are the ways we can tell others that we won’t go where God is not pleased?