…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
Awhile back, I saw the new Godzilla movie. Near the beginning of the movie, there is a scene where the nuclear reactor explodes sending a radioactive wave of fire racing through the building. All that needs to be done, to protect the people in the building (and in the outlying towns), is to close the protective doors.
There is of course, a catch. A team of scientists is still in the contaminated area running for their lives back to safety. The character running down to meet them has the unenviable task of having to decide whether to close the doors before they reach safety. As the radioactive wave of toxic fire draws closer to the doors of the building, the character comes to the conclusion that in order to protect the lives of those in the building and in the towns he must sacrifice the lives of the team of scientists. He gives the order to close the doors on his wife and the rest of the team.
While most of us will never have to make that kind of horrific choice, many of us have had to make the choice to close the doors of our lives on toxic relationships or situations. There comes a time when closing the doors on the toxic parts of our lives is the only way that we can survive.
During my younger years, I often found myself embroiled in the
midst of toxic situations and relationships. When I was in college, I met a young man who appeared to be the polar opposite of all the other men I had dated. I was relieved to finally break the pattern of bad relationships. I actually pondered whether he would be the man I could finally give all of my heart to in marriage.
Then subtle changes began to take place in our relationship. At first, I didn’t even notice the changes. He began to isolate me from all of my friends. Then he began to accuse me of things that I had not done. I would defend myself verbally only to be met with extreme verbal abuse. Later, he would of course apologize for yelling at me. The pattern of verbal abuse and then apology continued for a long time. Then one day the verbal abuse escalated to physical abuse.
By this time, I was so isolated from my friends that I didn’t feel that going to them for help was an option. The awful part was that the verbal abuse had torn me down to the point that I almost believed I deserved the way he treated me.
Then one day, I woke up and realized that I was stuck in a very toxic, abusive relationship. I had a choice to make. Did I stay in this toxic relationship or did I slam the door shut on this toxic wave of fire that was threatening to consume me?
In hindsight, I know that the Lord gave me the strength to slam the door shut on that relationship. It was a painful choice because I had embraced the lie that our relationship was one of love. However, I knew that our toxic love was going to kill me if I didn’t sacrifice our relationship.
Slamming the door shut on him and our relationship saved my life.
I now know that we have to let go of our death grip on toxic relationships or situations in order to take the Lord’s hand. It is when we are willing to shut the door on them that we will see the door that God has opened for us. A door that leads to life…not death.