How to avoid poisoning your relationships

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. — Galatians 6:1-2

A mom took her kids to the school carnival one Saturday, where they won four free goldfish. So she went out to find an aquarium, and the only ones she could find started at close to $70. Then she spotted a discarded 10-gallon display tank complete with gravel and filter for a mere $5. She bought it immediately.

She spent two hours cleaning the tank and the new fish looked great… at least for the first day. By Sunday, one fish had died. By Monday, a second was belly-up, and Tuesday brought another death. So she called an expert, a friend who owned a 30-gallon tank. It didn’t take long to identify the problem: she had cleaned the tank with soap – an absolute no-no. All her efforts to protect the lives of the fish had actually killed them.

Some of the biggest mistakes we can make with others are made when we think we’re doing good. We want to change them, so we try to mold them into the image of what we think they should be using tactics like criticism, nagging, and condemnation. But these are toxic!.

The truth is that most people don’t need unsolicited advice or criticism from others. Instead, they need to be shown the love of God before you give them guidance. Be careful of introducing toxic words into your relationships. Love others well, and then guide them gently!

Prayer Challenge

Ask God to show you those around you today with whom you can begin building relationships.

Questions for thought

Have you been the victim of undue criticism or nagging from someone? What was the effect on your relationship with that person?

How can you be more intentional at investing in others’ lives today so you can earn the right to give them advice tomorrow?