We’ve all experienced toxic people in our life.
Perhaps it was a romantic relationship, a family member, co-worker, or a person who was once a close friend.
Or, at some point, perhaps we have become the toxic person to someone else. Allowing bad habits into our life can have detrimental effects on our relationships.
Although some toxic people are completely unaware of their negative influence on those around them, others gain satisfaction from knowing that they can bully and manipulate those closest to them.
The Bible is full of wisdom about difficult and controlling people. It gives guidance on how to deal with them through difficult conversations, confronting, forgiveness, reconciliation, and sometimes distancing yourself from them.
Below are 9 types of toxic people the Bible warns us about and the verses that coincide with each situation.
1.) The Gossip
“Did you hear what happened to her!?”
“What happened? Tell me every little detail!”
“Ha! I knew that would happen to them! Oh my!”
A gossip loves nothing more than to talk about or hear about other people’s business.
It is only human to be curious about the lives of other people.
However, the gossip loves to peer into the lives of others and make assumptions, talk about ‘what-ifs”, laugh about their problems, and discuss topics that are none of their business.
Their words are cruel and uncaring. Yet they seem to feel better about themselves after they have discussed the personal life of those around them.
This toxic quality has a draining effect on people who prefer to be genuinely nice and empathetic.
Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
Proberbs 20:19 “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.”
Titus 3:10 “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him…”
Psalm: 101:5 “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.”
2.) The Negative One
This person can find something wrong with every single thing in life.
They may pride themselves on just “being real”, but they have a keen ability to put a negative slant on everything in life.
They judge others, can’t take a compliment, are often sarcastic, constantly worry and whine, and bring a cloud of negativity over every area of life.
If you have a friend that only has bad things to say whenever you see them, you may want to have a heart-to-heart with them or create some distance (for your own sake).
Job 4:8 “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.”
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
3.) The Narcissist
…self-obsessed, unempathetic, manipulative, guilt-tripping, love-bombing, etc.
The narcissist is absolutely amazing – and they make sure you never stop hearing about it!
They can always one-up you. They talk about themselves 24/7. Your problems really don’t matter to them. They triangulate relationships and create division wherever they go.
If you start to distance yourself from them, they go crazy! No-one does what they don’t want without consequences!
Perhaps they’ll give you the silent treatment, love-bomb you with compliments and gifts, or destroy you by spreading lies and gossip.
Romans 16:17 “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.”
James 1:26 “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
4.) The Fibber & Exaggerator
If you can’t believe a word that comes out of someone’s mouth, you may not want to be friends with them!
It is absolutely exhausting to be around someone who constantly twists stories, exaggerates facts, and outright lies.
This may come in the form of exaggerating a story to gain more attention. Or twisting the truth to gain more sympathy.
Dishonesty is a slippery slope that often leads to broken trust and resentment.
If their stories never align, facts seem over-the-top, or you always feel the need to fact-check their stories, you probably don’t want to hold that person in confidence.
Eventually, you will probably find yourself at the receiving end of the lies and exaggeration.
Proverbs 21:23 “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”
Proverbs 12:22 “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.”
5.) The Fake Friend
No matter your age, you will always come across people who are fake (sometimes unintentionally).
…the person that insists on being “best friends” right away, asking personal questions, and insisting on being a part of your life.
You’re a nice person, so you give them the benefit of the doubt! Maybe they really are incredibly kind and loving?!
Then, out of the blue, they stab you in the back!
These people are shallow, often suffering with incredibly low self-esteem.
When you encounter incredibly nice people who come into your life very quickly, make sure to focus on taking things slowly.
You want to make sure that their intentions are sincere and their influence is something you want and need in your life.
Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
6.) The One Who Takes Advantage of You
“May I borrow that?”
“Do you mind picking me up?”
“Your plans sound great! May I come with you?”
Do you have a friend that seems nice, but they are always asking for favors?
Although some people are completely unaware that they seem like ‘moochers’, others see their friends as people that can do free stuff for them.
Have you ever had someone ask you a ridiculously bold question – without flinching, like it was normal to them?
They may be a professional moocher.
Remember, every human relationship is a two-ways street. If someone is always ‘withdrawing’ from the relationship and rarely ‘depositing’, you need to have a serious conversation with them.
Be kind and generous, but know when to limit being taken advantage of.
Psalm 112:5 “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.”
Proverbs 22:26-27 “Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.
7.) The Jealous One
Do you have someone in your life who seems to act weird and distant sometimes.
Maybe they don’t like sharing you with other people.
Perhaps they are jealous about a recent accomplishment in your life?
Or maybe your life is going really well, while theirs seems to be going nowhere.
Jealousy can become unbelievably toxic, destructive, and even dangerous!
If you start to see signs of envy in your friendship, you need to put up your guard and be very careful.
Jealousy can take over a friendship like a disease – causing a person to do things and say things that are incredibly hurtful and unforgivable.
James 3:16 “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”
Proverbs 14:30 “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
8.) The Victim
Nothing is ever…ever their fault!
People are always supposedly taking advantage of them, they are always needy, always hurt, and no one cares about them as much as they should.
They always seem to have a recent sob story about something that isn’t going well in life.
There is never much to praise God for because they are always too busy victimizing themself.
Side Note: There truly are some people who are real victims in life. This is NOT to be confused with people who are going through a trying time in life.
James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Philippians 3:13-14 “…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
9.) The Arrogant One
Somehow, this person always knows better than you – about everything!
They are more spiritual than you, they know what is best for your life, and they know better than all other spiritual authority.
They give their opinion without being asked, quickly judge those around them, and doll out rude comments to those around them.
Religious superiority is one of their favorite games to play. It’s like they have the ear of God.
I Samuel 2:3 “Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”
Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”
Proverbs 27:2 “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
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Life’s relationships are there to teach love, understanding, patience, and forgiveness.
Remember, identifying difficult people does not mean that you are suppose to retaliate in a negative way.
Matthew 5:44 says “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
If you deeply care about someone who is showing toxic tendencies, have a conversation with them about the impacts of their actions.
First, the Bible instructs that you should handle disputes in love, with a goal of restoration. (Matthew 18:15)
When you talk to someone privately, you can address misunderstandings, and hope that the problem can be solved.
If this person is not trustworthy, it is important to have a witness with you.
Matthew 18:16 “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
If they will not identify their destructive behavior, you may need to distance yourself from them.
Pray hard about a decision like this! God can change hearts like we can’t imagine.
But the Bible does address these kind of people for a reason and state necessary boundaries if their destructive behavior doesn’t stop.
Related Article: What Does The Bible Say About Going “No Contact” With Toxic People?