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10 Toxic Behaviors that Will Ruin Your Small Group

10 Toxic Behaviors that Will Ruin Your Small Group

I sat across the table from my friend in the conference room of our church. She unzipped her purse. “Let me get a Kleenex,” she said with a big sigh. “I’m so frustrated; I think I’ll need it.”

The scenario she painted was painfully familiar to me. So, I listened with compassion.

“As the Sunday school teacher, you need to confront her and let her know how rude she’s being during class. I’m tired of her blasting us as we try to express our opinion…”

She continued and demanded I take matters seriously and either tell the woman to stop or to leave the class. Gulp.

I sighed deeply. “Let me talk to those members whom you said were offended by her.”

Such a delicate matter needed diligent prayers for God’s wisdom. And I searched his Word to find it.

I spoke to each woman who supposedly was a “victim” of this woman’s demeanor. And the conclusion was that none felt that way. On the contrary, they expressed compassion and understanding, knowing she needed help.

As weeks passed, the class continued, and I had conversations with the seemingly “bullish” woman. That’s when I learned she realized her weaknesses. She was aware of the negative effect she had on the class. I expressed understanding. Eventually, she changed churches, but left behind these 10 pitfalls we need to avoid:

  • 1. Forming Cliques

    Resist loving only those women who please you, treat you the way you expect, or agree with you. Could God be testing the depth of your love? Will He find you genuinely loving every one?

    “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?” Do not even pagans do that?” Matthew 7:45-46

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  • 2. Letting Petty Matters Fester

    Do not sink into the victim mentality when another woman hurts you. Jesus was hurt, insulted, and treated much more than we would ever be. He expects endurance, humility and obedience when He says:

    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other…” (Luke 6:27-29)

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  • 3. Playing the Blame Game

    Do not sink into the victim mentality when another woman hurts you. Jesus was hurt, insulted, and treated much more than we would ever be. He expects endurance, humility and obedience when He says:

    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other…” (Luke 6:27-29)

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  • 4. Holding Grudges

    Refrain from holding grudges. Unforgiveness is the poison that divides, injures and kills the church. The offender repeats her offenses toward you? Jesus knows  that’s why he says:

    “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

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  • 5. Creating Drama

    Do not stir trouble. Instead of being the first to point imperfections, choose to create peace instead. Resolve to be the first to take the step toward reconciliation because Jesus said:

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

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  • 6. Jealousy or Resentment of Other Relationships

    Put an end to your discouragement when others seem to exclude you. Instead, look to Jesus in whose heart you’re ever-present. When you do, joy will be the reward.

    “Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23)

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  • 7. Short Tempers

    Avoid impulsive reactions when insults create a wound. Quick responses are often wrong, hurtful and sadly futile. God is pleased with a humble, prudent woman.

    “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16)

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  • 8. Gossip

    Run from gossip. The tongue is a deadly weapon that not only injures your integrity, but God compares it to murder. Having a clear conscious, a clean tongue and pure thoughts adds joy because of your obedience to this warning:

    “Gossip is spread by wicked people; they stir up trouble and break up friendships.

    A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.” (Proverbs 16: 28, 20:19)

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  • 9. Prideful Attitudes

    Shake off that foothold the enemy has when you bring home angry thoughts, resentment, or indignant attitudes. The enemy is quick to use that foothold to divide and defeat. If you allow him, sleep won’t come and peace will pass you by.

    “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-25)

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  • 10. Failing to Love

    Erase your notion of what love should be. Embrace, instead, God’s true definition. Each area listed in his description of love is our guideline to a Godly life.

    “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

    When we use our human wisdom to resolve situations, emotions rule and love is lost. Then, our ministry ends up being a mere series of activities. Our efforts are simply busy work. And our purpose loses clarity.

    But when love is the driving force, compassion for others rises to the top. Understanding of others’ flaws reflects kindness. And acceptance of their weaknesses fosters harmony. That harmony brings on peace, joy begins, purpose is clear, and God’s kind of love shines through.

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    _______

    Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author of four books. Her best-selling release, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta invites you to experience the simplicity of finding joy even in the midst of hardship. With engaging stories, Simply Salsa gives practical steps to overcome heartache, fear and celebrate life once again.

    http://www.janetperezeckles.com/store/simply-salsa