What Happens When You Forgive a Toxic Person

People are frustrating and exhausting, and that’s on a good day. At worst. They are damaging and infectious people who have one thing on their minds themselves. And whether your toxic relationship is family friend, coworker, partner, or pastor you’ve likely been hurt more times than you can count. 

But since many well-meaning Christians want to follow the biblical mandate, to forgive. They often find themselves in a continual state of victimhood with this toxic person. So today I wanna talk to you about what happens when you forgive a toxic person.

Healthy people see forgiveness as an opportunity to grow and appreciate the second chance, toxic people, not so much. And that’s why you may keep getting burned by this person.

You see toxic people see forgiveness very differently. For starters. 

#1 – Toxic people see forgiveness as a weakness. 

You could tell that toxic person that you’ll always love them in an effort to help them know that they’re, that you’re in this battle with them. And that it’s okay to be human, cuz we all make mistakes. But instead of the toxic person hearing love and grace, they hear permission. Oh, since she’ll always love me, then I don’t really need to do much to contribute to the health of this relationship. They see it as a weakness.

#2 – Toxic people are not thankful they’re entitled. 

Yes. These people truly believe that you owe them forgiveness. Even if they also would never forgive you the same wrongdoing, they expect your forgiveness. They expect your trust. And that’s why they are flabbergasted when you don’t. So when you forgive them and reconcile, it’s not like most people who will think, oh, thank God for this second chance to be better. They will look at it like, oh cool. Back to normal. And we know what their normal is: abusing, taking advantage, manipulating self-seeking. 

Those are just to name a few, all that begging and groveling that you may see during the discovery phase. Won’t last very long. The discovery phase is when you discovered what they’re all about, you discovered their cheating, you discovered their lying. And during that time, they will show you an empathetic caring remorseful side of them, oftentimes in exaggeration.

And you may even get some tears to pull at your heartstrings. But my friend, it’s only temporary. Do not expect this to last. You see they are masters at playing the part to get what they want. And you will see their true colors when it’s taking much longer than they can endure longer than they can keep up with the facade or when it doesn’t go their way. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, then watch how they come out of their face and then blame you. 

#3- Expect no change.

 If they do change, it will be very short lived and they may be on their best behavior, but it’s not gonna last long. You see, expecting a toxic person to change through forgiveness would be like going up to an orange tree, hoping it produces apples simply because you gave it a hug.

And that’s what you can expect when you forgive a toxic person. So you may be saying to me, Kris, why would I even forgive this person? 

Well, because Scripture reminds us in Ephesians 4 32, that we, we are to be kind to one another tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ, forgave you. But even with that mandate, you may feel trapped and even desiring to hold onto your unforgiveness in an effort to avoid further abuse. 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. And while forgiveness should, should be given, trust must be earned. And that means that just because you forgive that doesn’t mean that you need to reconcile with this person. A lack of trust does not mean that you have not forgiven saying sayonara to that. Toxic boyfriend does not mean that you have not forgiven him for refusing to take calls from a toxic sick mother because she manipulates your every move does not mean that you have not forgiven her forgiveness and reconciliation are very different.

Despite what the toxic person will tell you, remember life is on their terms and their rules. And that doesn’t mean that you need to follow them, give forgiveness. Yes, but they need to earn your trust. They think it’s one and the same. And that’s why they accuse you of being unforgiving.

When you start to set boundaries, trust, and reconciliation, I’ll say it again is very different. If this toxic person has shown you that they have not changed their behavior, despite all the tears and the begging and the pleading, you can forgive, but you would be wise not to trust. If that spouse continues to cheat on you, you would be wise to forgive. But my friend doesn’t trust me. If your mother keeps trying to control your life, forgive her. Yes, but sets some serious boundaries. Because if you want the relationship to continue, there need to be some boundaries in place.

But here’s the good news. While forgiveness to a toxic person is often an invitation for further abuse. It does have its benefits for you.

#1- It frees you. 

When you hold on to unforgiveness, it doesn’t hurt the toxic person. In fact, it hurts you because you keep yourself bound and tethered to this person. Even if it is just mentally and emotionally. So cut that cord and let God deal with them. My friend trusts me. He can do a far better job than you ever could. When you free yourself from this person you are saying, I am not requiring them to change in order for me to be free. I am not spending my energy trying to convince them that they’re wrong. I am not exhausting myself. Trying to explain my feelings to a person who only pretends to care. You see, when I forgive, I’m free.

#2 – It keeps you in right standing with God.

Matthew 6:15 reminds us that. But if you don’t forgive others of their trespasses, neither will your forgo father forgive you of your trespasses. Look, I don’t know about you, my friend, but I am not blocking my blessings because of someone else’s toxic behavior. So whether you stay in the relationship or not, forgiveness should be a given. Yes. And on the off chance that they will be open enough to allow God to work in their lives. You wanna release them to him, but on the likely chance that they don’t, you at least will not allow their toxic behavior to now cause you to be toxic. 

So tell me, my friend, what happened when you forgave the toxic person in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you are with toxic people in your life, I wanna invite you to grab a copy of our free Toxic People Survival Guide.

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