So far we’ve seen that escaping toxic in our love means we embrace patience. What else does the Scripture have to teach us though?Paul says love is patient and love is kind. Love is kind. Man that’s a great word. I think this trait is pretty self-explanatory, but I want to show you the one other place where this exact same phrase is used in the Bible. Would you believe it that the one other place it’s used it’s used to speak of the kindness of who? The one other place it’s used it’s used to speak of the kindness of God. Because God is love. If love is kind, God is kind. Let me show you how Jesus taught us about Gods kindness and this will give us a great little window into our relationships.
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
So in this context Jesus is saying that the test of Gods kindness is that God is kind even to those who are unthankful and wicked. I love that. That’s so helpful for our relationships. Paul says love is kind, what does that mean? Listen it’s easy to be kind when you’re getting kindness back. It’s easy to be kind to people who treat you kindly. But the test of kindness is not if you’re kind to those people it’s are you kind to the people that don’t treat you that way? In your relationship the test of kindness is not will you be kind to your partner while they’re being kind to you? The test of kindness is will you be kind to your partner when they’re unkind to you? That’s what Gods kindness is like. That’s the bar.
So what’s a toxic relationship when it comes to kindness? How’s your partner react to your unkindness? Do they meet your unkindness with kindness or do they match your unkindness with unkindness? If you’re coming in hot and every time you do they get even hotter and you said hurtful things to them now they’re throwing them back at you, that’s not normal. That’s toxic. Love is kind. Kayli’s great at this. I called her slow earlier so let me praise her now. She’s amazing at this in our relationship. I tend to be the more volatile one of the two of us. She’s pretty steady, I can be all over the place. And I’m a debater so when we fight I want to really go at it. But she’s amazing at this man. She’s so good at meeting my unkindness with kindness. It’s powerful. It’s healthy. Some of you have never experienced that, you need to know it’s what God has for you. Toxic relationships are unkind.
All right so we’ve got love is patient and love is kind. Now Paul’s going to go into four things that love is not. So here are four signs from Paul that you’re in a toxic relationship. If any of these feel like they could be a descriptor for your relationship that means it’s gone toxic. Paul says love is patient, love is kind. Then he says,
Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
All right let’s take each of these one at a time. The first thing Paul says love is not is love is not jealous. That’s an interesting one. Toxic relationships are jealous relationships. We’ve got to do a little more work here to make sense of this. What is jealousy? Jealousy is an over realized desire for something that’s not yours. I had to do some thinking about how this plays out in a relationship and why this would be so toxic to a relationship. Here’s what I came to. I think Paul identifies that love is not jealous because jealousy can’t exist unless your eyes are wandering. Jealousy can’t exist unless your eyes are wandering.
What do I mean by that? Well for there to be jealousy in my relationship I’ve got to be looking outside of my relationship for satisfaction. Are you following me? I can’t be jealous if my eyes and my heart are staying where they’re supposed to and they’re focused on my partner. There’s nothing to be jealous of because my affections are where they’re supposed to be. That’s healthy. So what’s toxic? Toxic in a relationship is jealousy. Toxic in a relationship is when I’m now letting something outside of my relationship lead my heart and my eyes away from my partner. Welcome to Instagram.
I think a great way to talk about this is a way I heard a pastor say it some years ago. I remember he was teaching on relationships and he said that one of the key rules for a healthy relationship is that your spouse would become your standard of beauty. Write that down, that’s good. That will bless you. If you’re in a relationship your spouse needs to be your standard of beauty. Why? Because it protects you from jealousy. I’ve got nothing to be jealous of in someone else’s relationship if I’m really and truly convinced that Kayli is the best woman on planet earth I could possibly be married to. She’s my standard of beauty. She’s my standard of relationship. If you live there, you’re healthy. What’s the opposite of that? The opposite of that is jealousy. The opposite of that is being obsessed with letting your partner know everything they aren’t. It’s having wandering eyes and a wandering heart. It’s dropping subtle hints to them that if they would just change in this way or that way, then your relationship would be better. That’s not love. Because love isn’t jealous.