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Should Believers End Relationships With Toxic Family Members?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
October 9, 2023 1:30 pm

Should Believers End Relationships With Toxic Family Members?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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October 9, 2023 1:30 pm

Episode 1332 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

Questions in this Episode

1. What can the church learn from the fighting over COVID restrictions?

2. Can an attack from the devil remove a Christian from God's hand?

3. Can a Christian cut a toxic person out of their life?

4. If God forgave me once will he forgive me again for the same sin?

5. How can I walk faithfully in a culture that follows social media?


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Should believers end relationships with toxic family members? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of Core Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us at this number. It's 833-THE-CORE. If you get our voicemail, feel free to leave a message.

That's 833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. And of course, you can always email us at First up today, let's go to Andy calling in from Nebraska. Andy, what's your question for Adriel?

Yeah, just wanted some clarification. In light of the verses in Romans that talks about God placing our elected officials and things like that, why did we as Christian Bible believers have so much trouble when it came to the mandates coming down for COVID for masks and shots and things like that? If we trust God, why did we have so much trouble? There was a lot of trouble, Andy, wasn't there during that. For many believers, I think there were a lot of questions that were going around.

I just want to be charitable here. I know everybody had a different perspective, obviously. I know for some, there was great fear. They felt like, okay, is the government coercing me to do something that could be harmful? And of course, there was all sorts of information out there. Some of it was helpful, some of it was misinformation, but people are hearing it, and their conscience is being bound by certain things. So they're wrestling with that specifically. There was also, I know just being in Southern California, there were concerns that these mandates were not just, or that elected officials were able to go out and have a good time and eat dinner and party and do their thing.

But they're asking people under them to social distance and to be at home and not to meet with their family or to see family members. So there was this sense of hypocrisy as well. I think all of those things, in terms of why did some Christians have a really hard time with it. Maybe for some of them, there was just an attitude of rebellion, I don't know. But I know for a lot of people, there was fear. I know for a lot of people, there was a sense of, is this just, is this right? And so I think that that's one side of the story. And of course, I'm not even saying that that was all my view. I'm just trying to be charitable to the things that I know people were wrestling with.

Just to go back to you, because I know everybody's experience was a little bit different. Randy, it sounds to me like you were seeing a lot of people who were just disregarding those mandates, maybe getting a vaccine or the mass situation, and that was frustrating you, or was your perspective something else? The fallout in churches that I've seen. There were people that were obeying the rules that were set out and referring to scripture that says, our officials are there to protect us. And by faith, we're following this. And others were saying, you know, God can heal us of anything.

We don't have to worry about this at all. I know God can heal us. But the damage that was done by the conflict in between is horrendous, and it's all across our church.

You're right, brother. And I tell you what, just as a pastor, that breaks my heart so much. And I think one of the things that we did see, that this sort of exposed, is how hard it is for us to be charitable to one another, even within the church.

To be sensitive to the concerns and fears that people have. Everything is so politicized that we almost sort of, people picking sides and then going to war with each other. And there were churches that were split over this very issue.

And so really, really, truly heartbreaking. And my hope is that we've learned as churches from everything that took place there, that if we were falling into that trap of not extending charity to our brothers and sisters and seeking to serve one another. But just to think about what Paul says in Philippians 2, have this mind in yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, that considering the needs of others even is more significant than our own. That humility, that charity, that's hard for us as sinners. And so where did Christians go wrong in all of this? I think that's one area where we can each examine ourselves and say, Lord, help me. Help me to love others. Obviously to stand on the truth and to submit to your word, but not to be divisive and not to create schism in the church over things like this.

So I'm not giving, I guess, you know, I want to be slow to take providing it. I know that everybody kind of had a different perspective. And I think on both sides there were sinful attitudes, frankly. And there's room for repentance.

And my heart is, again, just as broken over the division that we saw there. And if you want to reach back out again and maybe ask something more specifically about how should we have handled this or that, I'd be happy to talk further. All that to say, may God bring healing to our churches and sanctify us through these experiences and help us to grow more and more ultimately into the image of our Savior Jesus. Thanks for reaching out, Andy.

You know, it's interesting. I go to a larger church, Adriel, and our pastor addressed this very directly from the pulpit, the uncharitable attitudes, because we had people on both sides of that issue as far as the vaccine mandates and the masks and everything else. And he basically kind of challenged the church, look, you know, we're called to be above this fray and to love each other and care for each other and to be charitable.

And I appreciated that so much. Yeah, one, I think it does, it's a lack of charity is a sign of Christian immaturity, that the inability to coexist, even with people that we disagree with. Now, of course, I'm not talking about like disagreeing on matters of, you know, the doctrine of the Trinity or something like that. Although even with regard to those who have, you know, really bad theology, we're still called to extend a certain kind of charity, not being okay with what they believe, but, you know, in all things, correcting with gentleness and respect. But in situations like this, again, we have a lot of room to grow and to mature as churches, and it's that maturity that enables us to be compassionate toward one another, to love one another truly, and to consider the needs of others as more significant than our own. And people hear that and they're like, oh, you know, don't say that to me. But this is what Paul says in Philippians chapter two. And so if that bothers us, we have to take it up with him.

So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. You can leave us a voicemail anytime at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

Let's go to Viola calling in from St. Louis, Missouri. Viola, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I have a question. Pastor Sanchez, thank you for your ministry. In John 10 verses 27 through 29 where Jesus says that my sheep are my voice and I know them, they follow me, I give them eternal life and no one can pluck them from my hand. Neither can anyone pluck them from the Father's hand. I have a question about a Christian under demonic influence. And I'm wondering if they can actually wiggle themselves out of the Lord's hand.

That's a great question. I've actually heard a pastor before say, look, no one can take me out of the hand of God. But I can, as you put it, you know, wiggle my way out if I want.

That sort of a thing. So it's like, nobody can take my salvation from me. The devil can't take it from me. No one's going to force me out of God's hand. But I can choose to leave God's hand. And for those who wrestle with questions of eternal security, you know, how do I know I'm saved? How do I know that on the last day, you know, God is going to keep me?

This is a really pressing question. Okay, so, you know, the evil one can't snatch me out of God's hand, but I know my own sinful inclinations. I know that I struggle with sin, so am I going to slip out of God's hand? That's not, obviously, you know, when you look at that text in John chapter 10, the point that Jesus is making there is he's wanting to assure his sheep that they belong to him. And of course, we're always looking for ways to wiggle out of what God's word is saying. But again, just reading these words, verse 27, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. Now, right there, I think it's very clear that the sheep, not only do they not, you know, get snatched out of the hand of the Father, but they don't wiggle themselves out. They don't perish. They persevere instead. And why do they persevere?

Well, they persevere because it's the grace of God at work in them. God preserves them. God keeps them. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. And no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand.

I and the Father are one. And especially for those of us who wrestle with these questions, and, you know, you have a sensitive conscience, you look into your own life, and you realize, I struggle with sin. I struggle with sin. How do I know I'm going to make it? Your confidence has to be not in your own ability to keep yourself, your own ability to hold on. Your confidence has to be in the ability of God to hold on to you, to keep you, to preserve you, in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus, where His love has been so clearly exhibited for you, His commitment to you, that He who began a good work in you is going to be faithful to complete it.

He doesn't leave that unfinished. And so, oftentimes, I think one of the reasons we wrestle with this question of security and feeling afraid, you know, being insecure about our salvation, is because our confidence is still in ourselves, really, in our obedience to keep ourselves, to earn salvation or something like that. Our confidence really needs to be in the strong hand of the Lord, and we cast ourselves into His hand and say, Lord, you are my only hope. You're the one who keeps me.

You're the one who preserves me. And in the hands of God, in my own hands, right, there's a lot of room for question, but in the hands of God, in the strong hands of God, we can rest. And so God help each one of you, by faith, to rest in the strong hands of a good God who has given us everything we need for life and godliness, and who has sent His Son into the world so that all of our sins might be forgiven.

Thank you for your question, Viola. You know, Viola's question has to do with spiritual warfare, and we actually have a great resource, free resource, on that topic that can be very helpful to you. If you wonder about that issue, demonic possession, how much control does the devil have in our lives, you can find that through our website at

Yeah, that's right. I mean, the battle that we're in, I mean, I think this is one of the reasons why we do question God's word, even with regard to this very issue. And that's in part, right, from the very beginning, what Satan has attempted to do is to get us to question what God has very clearly said, and not to trust in His promises, not to hope in His word. And that's a part of spiritual warfare, being able to cling to the word of God and respond to the lies of Satan with the truth of God's word. This resource, Can the Devil Read My Mind, is a powerful resource. It's a short booklet, about 70 pages, written by Pastor David Cassidy. And it gets into what you need to know as you think about this spiritual fight, and how to be equipped with the word of God. And so, again, it's a free booklet, Can the Devil Read My Mind, and you can get it at Encourage you to go to our website, browse around, look at some of our other free resources. We have some great core guides and core questions, and of course, our Bible studies on books from both the Old and the New Testament. If you're going to be leading a small group sometime this fall, it'd be a great opportunity for you to get one of those Bible studies. Check it out by

Well, we do receive voicemails here at the core, and here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Diana. My question is, is it okay to stop having family relationships with members that are toxic? Well, I mean, this sounds like a very complex situation, and I'll give a short answer. Yes, I want to say that, yes, if there's an unhealthy situation, relationship, that is leading to harm and abuse, well, then creating distance, I think, is a wise thing to do, and Bill, I definitely want to get your input here as well. Now, with that, we are called as Christians to pursue peace with all people, to pursue restoration where there's been sin, to extend forgiveness, to pursue reconciliation, to be open to those things and to pursue those things, but I realized that, one, a lot of times people in our family aren't necessarily Christians, and so that's more difficult. We're still called to forgive, but in terms of identifying patterns of sin and abuse, sometimes that's more difficult, and so that doesn't happen, but I also recognize that even tragically, for some relationships between professing believers, it's hard for people to see their sin. There's a blindness, and people won't take responsibility, and they'll continue to act in ways that are toxic or harmful or abusive, and in those situations, I do think, if there's been an exhortation, a warning, you've identified these things, and you've called this person to repentance, but they're just not willing to, and they continue the pattern of abuse, then if you're able to, then yeah, for your sake and for your family as well, that's where, if you're taking care of others, your children, that you also have an obligation to them, to care for them, and to be sure that they're not put in harm's way as well, and so again, really a complex question, and I know that there are also instances where there are individuals who just, because they don't want to have a relationship, they'll say, well, I just don't like you, you're an abusive person, and so they don't seek to do the hard work of pursuing those who are in need, and so I think that's also a problem. Bill, would you add anything, and I'm sure you've worked with individuals where this was a situation.

What wisdom could you bring to the table as well? Well, I think you addressed both sides of the issue, and earlier we were talking about the importance of being charitable to others who may have different opinions than us, so we start, I think, with that charitable attitude, that loving attitude, but then, as you said, if a person persists in their sin or their egregious behavior that puts us or others at risk, whether that's physically, emotionally, yes, we need to set up firm boundaries, and sometimes, if this person's a believer, I think we need to go with another believer, we need to follow that example from Matthew that we have very, yeah, very clearly on what we're supposed to do, so we don't do it just individually, sometimes it requires some type of intervention, again, if the person's behavior rises to the level of dangerous in some way, so I think we need to take firm action, and sometimes it does involve just cutting ourselves off from that relationship. Always, I mean, obviously a tragic situation, especially in family and also in the church, but I think that there is wisdom there, and making sure that we are being honest and truthful with one another, and as I said to this individual, that also recognizing, hey, when you have a family, you're also caring for others, so you have a responsibility to them, too, so appreciate your insight, Bill. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can always email us anytime at

Receive this question from one of our listeners named John in Oklahoma. John says, I gave my life to Jesus a while back, and I stopped taking prescription pills, but I recently fell back into it. I know God has the power to take away sin, but will he do it again since I broke his trust? I read in Romans 6, 1, and 2, Paul warns us against falling back into sin.

You know, so a couple of things. First, that text that you brought up in the book of Romans, right there in Romans chapter 6, Paul is talking about, look, should we, since we've been saved by grace through faith, be justified, right now we have peace with God, does that mean we should just go and live a life of sin because God is so gracious, because he's so merciful? Well, boy, is this just sort of a license to do the evil things that we think up in our hearts?

And he says, no way. That's actually not at all what I'm preaching, Paul says. Romans chapter 6, verse 1, what shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound by no means? How can we who died to sin still live in it? But even for those of us who have died to sin through faith in Jesus Christ, through baptism, trusting in the Lord Jesus, even for us, John, there's still that battle with sin. And in the very next chapter, in Romans chapter 7, the apostle Paul is going to highlight that struggle, a very real struggle, where sometimes we do think, Lord, why did I die?

I can't believe I'm still struggling with this. And so what I would say to you is, no, your relapse into this, going back to this, does not mean that God is done with you. Rather, you're called to get up and look to the Lord and say, God, have mercy upon me a sinner, help me, Lord.

The righteous may fall seven times but rise again. I mean, that's repentance. That's clinging to the Lord. It's confessing our sins and saying, God, help me, help me. And as we cry out to the Lord, it's by the Spirit of God that God is at work in our lives, putting to death those sinful desires, those patterns of behavior that are not pleasing to the Lord. It's what the Bible calls sanctification, that growth in grace, that process of growth in grace. It's slower than most of us would like, and that's not God's fault. That's usually because of the hardness of our own hearts, but it is a process.

It's not something that happens overnight. And so we still battle, we still wrestle, John, with indwelling sin, and that's what you're experiencing. And one of the devil's tactics is to make us feel hopeless, to make us feel like, okay, God is totally through with me. I had repented of this, and now I've found myself in the same situation again. I guess God is done with me. How could I go back to God after I've failed in this way again? And the reason the devil wants us to think that way, wants us to be convinced that there's no more hope for us, is because if we think that our situation is hopeless, well, then we won't turn to the Lord.

We'll think that there's no more reason or chance. But the reality is, it's like what the psalmist says, if you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness that you may be feared, O Lord. And so, John, there is forgiveness for you. And take your sins, your struggles to the Lord, and do so with confidence knowing that when you confess your sins, He's gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. And you listening right now, maybe you've been wrestling with these same thoughts God has done with me. If you knew what I did, if you knew how many times I've failed, I've fallen, man, you'd be hopeless for me too.

No. No, I wouldn't be, because the blood of Jesus Christ is more powerful than your sins and your backsliding. Your sin is not so great that it's bigger than the cross of Jesus Christ. Trust in Jesus. Confess your sin, and turn from it and turn to Him, putting your confidence, not in your sinlessness or in your strength not to backslide, but putting your confidence in the eternal Son of God who suffered and died for your sins to eradicate them. And when we confess our sins, when you confess your sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you of all unrighteousness. Cling to that word, cling to that promise, and receive His grace.

Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named John Paul. My question is about walking with Jesus in a world that is walking with social media. I really just want to ask the pastor, how do we go forth? Well, I mean, I think not getting all wrapped up in a lot of the drama that is social media, but remembering the exhortation of Paul to the Philippians in Philippians 4, verse 8.

Let's listen to this right now, brothers and sisters. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

A lot of us are anxious and afraid and meditating on things that make us anxious and afraid, and oftentimes social media helps with that. And Paul says, look, focus on, meditate upon, think about that which is commendable, that which is pure and excellent. And as you do, you'll experience that peace of God that passes all understanding. So do that, brothers and sisters. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-24 13:18:57 / 2023-10-24 13:29:06 / 10

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