We hear so many messages about Christian relationships, loving others and forgiving and forbearing. While these are wonderful, Christlike commands that we should obey, do they apply to all people, all the time?
I’m not advocating for malicious, cruel treatment of anyone, but you can run into a problem when you forbear under people who God specifically instructs us to avoid.
In fact, there are several types of people that scripture tell us to avoid at all cost.
Not conform to.
But stay away from.
Let’s break down the five types of people God wants you to avoid at all costs in the context of Christian relationships.
Type #1: Bad influences
Do not be deceived. “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
God doesn’t say you can’t spend time with non-believers. Otherwise, how could you witness to the lost?
But you must be extra careful to ensure that you are the influencer, not the influence.
That guardrail you think you have in place to protect against your friend’s bigotry or your coworker’s criticism can easily fall to the point that you can’t tell the difference between what they think and what you think.
Remember the famous quote from Dan Pena: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
Type #2: False teachers
1 John 4:1 reminds us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
And 2 John 1:10 follows up with, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.”
In today’s world of tolerance, we often write off demonically inspired behavior as just “different.”
But scripture is clear when it says that not everyone in this world has good intentions.
Your job is not to reform a wolf into a sheep—it’s to simply avoid them.
Type #3: Divisive people
One of the most damaging sins to the body of Christ are gossipers. Since most people love a piece of juicy gossip, you can become party to this destructive sin with just a little curiosity.
Be careful of people who want the 411 so they can better pray. They are really gossipers in disguise.
Also beware of:
- people who pretend to be happy for you but are secretly envious
- people who ‘just tell it like it is’ but are really looking for a good argument
- people who come across wounded but are so easily offended
These people and many more only have one goal in mind, even if they don’t realize it—to sow division.
Titus 3:9-11 is crystal clear when it commands:
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”
Type #4: Christians who profess but don’t confess
This is a pervasive problem in the church today. Christians who attend church but live a worldly life. These people profess to follow God, but don’t confess their sins before God.
With the Holy Spirit in you, you may sin but you won’t be happy doing it. It will be a battle.
If a Christian is continually living a life of unrepentant sin, I question if they are a true Christian at all.
So how are you as a follower of Christ supposed to handle such people? Many would say, “Love them. Bring them to Jesus.” But 1 corinthians 5:11 says, “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”
I don’t know how much more clear it can be.
Type #5: Proud people
Pride is a badge of honor in our society, but it flies in the face of biblical truth.
As a Christian you are called to be humble, and you should spend time with other humble people, not puffing up the proud.
Those who like to take credit and exalt themselves will be humbled by the mighty hand of God. Be careful that you don’t get swept up in that kind of company.
2 Timothy 3:1-7 sums this point up perfectly, when it says:
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”
At this point you may be saying, Kris, that’s a lot of people. How can I possibly avoid all people like this? They’re everywhere.
Maybe it’s your so-called friends, your coworkers, or even those in your own family who cause you to question their motives.
While you certainly want to be a light in this dark world, when it comes to people who have an influence over your life, please reconsider any of the aforementioned folks.
They will be a Trojan horse that enables the enemy to wreak havoc in your life.
Follow the biblical command and stay away. At the very least, guard your heart.
As a Christian, you might feel like it’s your responsibility to love a narcissist within the realm of Christian relationships, hoping they may change. Yet, your love can’t change a narcissist. But THIS can.
Be sure to check out this episode next to find out.
Want to learn how to identify and deal with all types of difficult people? Grab your FREE Toxic People Survival Guide here.