Matthew 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Too often, we’re lightning quick to find the fault in others. The term “toxic” is thrown around these days. We speak about how an environment is toxic or a person is toxic. We talk about toxic relationships. We tear down a person we perceive did us a grievous wrong… never stopping to ask – what was my part?

What a powerless place to live… in a place where someone else holds all the influence and we are simply living at their toxic mercy… poor, poor me.  

Taking personal responsibility for every situation in our life is true power. Power is found in realizing that we are not at the mercy of a “toxic” situation. Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to manage our relationships in such a way as is nurturing to our souls and not toxic. This is true power. This is true self control. This is true growth.

We need not complain about how someone is treating us, when we have not first determined how we demand to be treated. What is allowed once will be repeated. We teach others how to treat us. 

Who then is the toxin? Is it the person acting on what is allowed? Or is the toxin the person allowing the act? It takes a lot of courage to admit that we bear a large part of the  responsibility for how we are being treated. Few possess such courage. It’s easier to tell others to go get fixed, than to look inside and ask, “Why must I tear another down to feel more powerful? What am I communicating that is giving others the idea that I approve toxicity in my life?” 

When we constantly find toxic people in our life, tolerate toxic behavior, frequent toxic places, perhaps we are our own toxin… Perhaps, no one else is really to blame.