How to Handle Toxic Friendships - Living Strong Television Network
How to Handle Toxic Friendships

3 tools to help us develop empathy.

Eight years ago, my younger brother, Timothy D. Kim, was murdered. Tim and I didn’t always get along or agree on everything; we were very different. But Tim had so many good qualities. We shared lots of laughs and love. My heart grieves whenever I hear that siblings are no longer on speaking terms.

Even within nuclear families, we are divided over every topic under the sun—politics, science, immigration, gender, race, climate—to the point where we no longer speak to each other. Is any disagreement important enough to “cut off” our flesh and blood? Similarly, can we dismiss friends so easily on account of disagreements, as is the trend today? Aren’t treasured relationships with our family members and friends worth fighting for?

Over the past year, I’ve begun to see a Christian psychologist and psychiatrist about longstanding traumas and related mental health concerns.

One afternoon, my psychologist and I were bemoaning today’s society. He observed something so simple yet notoriously difficult for people to embrace: “God never intended for us to agree on everything. A basic human ethic is that people can have different opinions.”

People will disagree and are expected to disagree with each other. Why, then, is it so difficult to overlook differing opinions and remain civil toward one another? On nonessential issues, why can’t we disagree and still be friendly? Why are we so fearful of “the other”?

Why do we so nonchalantly dismiss or end relationships within the family of God—whose spiritual blood we share? Whether the debate is over women in pastoral leadership, Christian nationalism, or racism, vitriolic conflicts lead to relational malaise and …

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