When God wants to bless you, how does He do it? He sends peopleinto your life. When the devil wants to destroy you, how does He doit? He sends people!

There are several types of relationships that are liabilities, notassets. If you are going to develop healthy relationships, you firstmust cut off the unhealthy ones you have developed.How can you tell if a relationship is toxic? Here are three majorindicators:

 Constant Strife and Division. First, there will be constantstrife and division. Amos 3:3 asks us, "Can two walktogether, unless they are agreed?" A healthy relationship isone in which there is a oneness of goals, purpose, values,and beliefs. God's Word also says, "Where envy and self-seekingexist, confusion and every evil thing are there"(James 3:16).

The Greek word for confusion means "unstable." The Bible tellsus that a double-minded man is "unstable in all his ways" (James1:8). The situation is out of order and therefore out of control. Godis a God of order. He has set up lines of authority, and when thoselines are violated, the door is open to every type of evil spirit. Youdon't get to choose the brand of evil spirit you want. When you getout of line with the way God has designed things to work, the devilhas a legal right to touch you with any form of evil he wants.

Strife and confusion sap your energy and drain your creativity.They take your focus off what God has for you.

 People Who Knew You "Back When." One of the most dangerousrelationships is the one that holds you to yourpast. The Bible tells us that when Jesus went to his "owncountry," He taught, and the people were astonished, butthey were also "offended" at Him because they kept saying,"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't this the son ofMary and the brother of James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?He can't possibly have all this wisdom and do thesemighty works. We know Him. He's just one of us." AndJesus could do no miracles there "because of their unbelief."It wasn't that Jesus had lost any power in Himself.He wasn't any less of who He was in his home country. Itwas because of their, unbelief that He could not manifestthe fullness of Himself (see Matthew 13:53-58).

The associations of your past can drag you down and hold youback. They can keep you from fulfilling your potential.

I'm not talking, of course, of relationships that you have enteredinto with a covenant or relationships that God has ordained for yourlife. You can't just casually walk away from a father or mother orspouse or child. I'm talking about friendships and business associationsand casual acquaintances and distant relatives who remind youcontinually of what people used to think of you. Those old opinionsthat were not God's opinions are opinions that do not relate to yourtomorrow. They relate only to your yesterday.

 Violators of the Heart. These are relationships that prey onyour heart and rob you of control over your life. Don'tgive power to any person to manipulate you and controlyou. Nobody deserves that power but God! No personcan make you lose your joy, your mind, your temper, orany other aspect unless you give that person the power.Don't do it!

The most dangerous violator of the heart is the person who tellsyou what you want to hear. It is the person who strokes your ego andtells you words of affection that you are desperate to hear, all in aneffort to get what they want from you.

Violators take advantage of the "needs" in your life, especially theneeds to be loved and accepted. They aren't concerned about yourblessings or your destiny. They are concerned only about what theywant. They are takers, not givers.

Never lose your identity for another person's sake.

Never compromise your character for anyone.

You must continually take inventory of whether a person is drawingmore from you than the person is giving to you. A healthy relationshipis a relationship in which there is balance in giving and taking. . . where there is mutual appreciation and a building up . . .where there are honest words of appreciation without any taint ofmanipulation.

The Steps to Cutting Off an Unhealthy Relationship

So what are the steps you must take to cut unhealthy relationshipsout of your life?

First, you must identify and accept the reality of an out-of-balancerelationship. At times, you need to take stock of the situationand admit to yourself that a relationship just isn't working. All of yourefforts at helping or rehabilitating a person have failed. It is at thatpoint that you need to give that person over to God. Notice that Ididn't say that you give up on the person. To give up is to walk awayand say, "I don't care what happens to you." To give a person "over toGod" is to walk away as you say, "I have done all that I can do. I'mentrusting you to God from this point on."

When you give a person over to Almighty God, you are releasingthat person from your own heart to One who truly can heal the person,who will never fail the person, and who is totally qualified tocounsel and guide and help the person. How many times can you tella person the same things over and over and over again? Some peoplehave been prayed for with the laying on of your hands so often thatyour handprints are indelibly printed on them!

If you allow yourself to be drained and distracted by someoneyou truly cannot help because that person does not truly want yourhelp-only your association-then you will not be in position tohelp those who truly want your help more than they want your association.

Second, don't try to be God to another person. There's a hugedifference between helping a person and carrying a person. Youaren't the Holy Spirit. Don't enter into an enabling relationship inwhich you come to feel totally responsible for a person's success orfailure.

Third, become comfortable with criticism. If you do have toend a relationship, not everybody is going to be happy with yourdecision. For that matter, not everybody is going to be happy withyou at any point or regarding anything! There's always going to besomebody who wants you to do something other than what God isleading you to do. Nobody can please all people all the time, everywhere.

Luke 6:26 tells us, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you,for so did their fathers to the false prophets." Occasionally you needto recognize that hurting people sometimes hurt people, and youneed to be brave enough and godly enough to say, "This relationshipisn't helping you or me. This relationship isn't healthy. We need toput an end to this."