What Does The Bible Say About Toxic People


Violence and bad-temperedness are almost inevitable. When it’s someone you care deeply about, it becomes highly problematic. Their sometimes toxic behavior can hurt your well-being, mental state, and even physical health. In the Bible, King Solomon wrote Proverbs 18:19, saying, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city” (KJV). How are we to deal with difficult or toxic people, or those considered family or friends, but not loyal?

Biblical Perspective

The Bible contains many verses about relationships. Proverbs 12:18 states, “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword,But the tongue of the wise promotes health” (NKJV). This encourages us to speak thoughtfully, with wisdom and understanding, which is one way of dealing with difficult people. The Bible also calls us to forgive regardless of how someone has wronged us. Mark 11:25 says, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone” (NKJV). It’s important to practice forgiveness in order to maintain a positive attitude in the face of confrontation or provocation.
In Proverbs 18:17 we read, “The one who states his case first seems right, Until another comes and examines him” (NKJV). This calls for patience, understanding, and discernment. We should take our time to make decisions, and seek advice even from those who can offer a different perspective.

Healthy Responses

The Bible offers many ways of dealing with problems and toxic people. One of these is by having loving and forgiving conversations with the toxic person. By listening to understand, we may be able to address the issues at hand. Secondly, it is essential to practice self-care. Taking care of our mental and physical health is a practical way of managing stressful relationships. Finally, choose our words carefully and always communicate out of love.

Avoiding Criticism

The Bible offers guidance on dealing with those who criticize us. Proverbs 15:1 states, “A soft answer turns away wrath,But a harsh word stirs up anger” (NKJV). This encourages us to avoid responding to criticism with arguments and sharp words, but instead with kindness and gentleness. We can also take responsibility for our words and actions, and that of toxic people, without getting defensive or personal.

Interpersonal Boundaries

It is essential to set healthy boundaries in any relationship. The Bible offers an example of this in Leviticus 19:17, “You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him” (NKJV). This reminds us that we should not be so tolerant to tolerate toxic behavior. Reminding ourselves and the offending person of set boundaries is one way to ensure that relationships stay healthy.

Accepting Our Role in Relationships

The Bible encourages us to examine our own actions in order to maintain healthy relationships. Romans12:9-10 reminds us how to act toward others, “Let love be without hypocrisy. abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (NKJV). These verses remind us to be kind and understanding, but at the same time to be firm in our desires and expectations by not settling for less.

How To End Toxic Relationships

Sometimes a relationship is too far gone to help. In cases like these, the Bible provides advice on how to end it. In Proverbs 20:3, King Solomon wrote, “It is honorable for a man to stop striving,Since any fool can start a quarrel” (NKJV). This suggests that it’s better to walk away from an argument before it spirals into a fight. Additionally, Romans 12:18 could also provide guidance: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (NKJV). Learning to accept when a relationship is beyond repair and peacefully disengaging is a much healthier alternative.

The Role of Prayer

Prayer is a powerful tool in difficult times. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, it says, “Pray without ceasing” (NKJV). Despite difficulty and angst, being connected to God can help us to forgive and show mercy. Even if the toxic person does not seek any kind of reconciliation, the act of praying for them is a way to remain connected to them, and ultimately set an example of how to handle difficult situations.

The Power Of Honesty

The Bible encourages us to be honest and direct in our communication in order to minimise the risks of misinterpretation. Proverbs 30:33 states that “surely the churning of milk brings forth butter,And the wringing of the nose brings forth blood” (NKJV). This can be interpreted as a warning against being too kind and gentle when addressing a problem. Honesty is sometimes the only way to take control of a situation and set a firm boundary.

The Benefits of Patience

When dealing with toxic people, patience is key. Proverbs 14:29 reminds us that patience is a strength, “He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly” (NKJV). Every conflict takes time to resolve and learning to be patient is essential. Patience is a way to protect ourselves against premature action that could have serious long-term consequences.

Room For Growth

Allowing toxicity to thrive in personal relationships is a risk that must not be taken. Unfortunately, toxic people usually have underlying issues that are hard to identify. However, we need to remember that these people are also capable of growth and redemption. The Bible encourages us to remain patient, not to accuse or judge but to seek peace and reconciliation. Colossians 3:12-14 states, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (NKJV). This gives us hope that toxic relationships can be transformed into something more positive.

AlternativesTo Confrontation

Conflict is a part of any relationship, but it must not be a toxic one. The Bible encourages us to be wise and resolve disagreements in an effective manner, without causing resentment or further harm. Ephesians 4:26 tells us, “Be angry, and do not sin” (NKJV). This encourages us to react to situations without crossing any lines or infringing someone’s boundaries. We should take time to think things through before responding to a difficult person, and really try to get to the core of the problem. Additionally, it’s important to aim for understanding, and to never stoop to a toxic person’s level.

Building Mutual Respect

The Bible teaches us that it is possible to build a healthier relationship with a toxic person, but it might require patience and effort. Proverbs 15:33 states, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom,And before honor is humility” (NKJV). This encourages us to be humble in order to gain respect from others, as well as to listen to and understand the perspective of a toxic person. If we approach a toxic person in a respectful and compassionate way, we give them the opportunity to do the same.

Exploring Our Emotions

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with a toxic person is the emotional toll it takes. It can leave us feeling anxious, angry, and even hopeless. It is important to remember that all these emotions are normal and that we must find outlets to express them without endangering our mental health. Talking to a counselor or a spiritual leader is a great way to explore our feelings and find peace again. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;In all your ways acknowledge Him,And He shall direct your paths” (NKJV). Here, God is telling us to trust Him and the advice from our community when confronting a difficult situation.

Setting High Standards

We cannot control the behavior of others, but we can take responsibility for our own. The Bible encourages us to demonstrate kindness and respect to others, no matter the circumstances. This includes toxic people. In our relationships, we should always aim for compassion, understanding, and grace. Colossians 3:23-24 explains, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (NKJV). This reminds us that we should have a steadfast devotion to God and high standards for our relationships.


Relationships can be both rewarding and challenging, depending on the parties involved. The Bible offers practical advice on dealing with toxic people, encouraging us to be aware of our own emotions, set boundaries, forgive, and most importantly, practice patience. If we focus on prayer, understanding, and guided communication, it may be possible to repair strained relationships. It is not within our control to change the personality of a person, but it’s our responsibility to take care of our own peace of mind.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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