When Love Turns Toxic: Finding Freedom From Emotional Abuse

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional




Have you ever been seduced by a manipulator? Tricked and deceived by flattery and charm only to later discover that the relationship was built on lies? It’s devastating when all of a sudden affirmation and attention turn into criticism, angry outbursts or silent treatment and other mind games.


When deceit, malicious behavior and abuse occur, reconciling your emotions with your new awareness of reality is difficult and painful.


What does God’s Word say about all of this? What does the Bible say about manipulation and emotional abuse?


So often when I want to find out what scripture says about a certain topic I do a word search in an online concordance. But neither the word manipulation or the phrase emotional abuse are not used in the Bible.


That happens a lot. When words that are common in our culture today are not in the Bible, it makes it more difficult to find out what God says about certain topics. While these subjects may not be in the Bible, scripture has much to say about control, deceit and evil agendas.


Think Jezebel. Everyone knows how evil she was. She was an original narcissist. A sweet-talking, love-bombing, gaslighter who probably set the idealization, devalue and discard merry-go-round in motion.


Bottom line. Manipulation and deceit...


are...


evil.


But here’s the deal—a Jezebel spirit loses its power when others are no longer willing to surrender and comply. In order for a Jezebel spirit to operate, there has to be an agreeable partner. Manipulators can only gain power by seducing the innocent to accomplish their agenda.


For Jezebel, that person was her husband, Ahab. And here’s where this whole puppet act gets tangled. 


It’s easy to see that Jezebel was wicked. She was the evil one. She stirred Ahab up. She persuaded, provoked, enticed and seduced him. But Ahab didn’t confront Jezebel’s sin. He submitted to her domination and turned a blind eye.


Ahab was passive. Whether it was the fear of her disapproval or wrath or irresponsibility, his silence permitted Jezebel’s manipulation and control to continue.


Please hear me. I’m not trying to put a guilt trip on you. That’s not my intent at all. My hope is this: I want you to see your God-given rights and responsibilities to stand up to evil.


God cares deeply about you. He never intended for you to be seduced and mistreated by a romantic partner with a controlling agenda. He created you to be strong and courageous, full of confidence and joy. If you feel angry or distressed about a past or present relationship, there is hope. His wisdom can help you identify the lies you've believed about love and marriage and break the cycle of toxic love.