Christian Living

Avoid Toxic Environments that Pollute Our Soul

We Should Be Careful What We Put into Our Minds Each Day

We know of toxic people. Because of their personality or character, they are just too hard to be around. Spending time with them threatens to drag us down with their negativity or their drama.

In the same way, a toxic environment is a place or a situation that causes us emotional or spiritual damage. We should avoid toxic environments, just as we avoid toxic people.

Toxic environments cause social tension. They produce an unpleasant atmosphere. They demean our spirit and damage our soul. We should avoid going there.

Two situations come to mind that are toxic to me. These are destinations my body doesn’t go physically, but where my mind goes intellectually.

Toxic News

It’s been years since I watched the nightly news on TV. Most of what they covered were negative events, highlighting humanity’s proclivity toward evil and the darker side of life.

Their negativity depressed me—not in a clinical sense but in a practical manner.

Seldom did they cover positive stories that inspired me or filled me with hope. When it came to the news, I turned off the TV. And I haven’t missed it.

More recently I stopped listening to the news on the radio. It’s been over six months since I tuned in to hear what was happening.

At first, I felt guilty for not knowing what was going on in the world. But I soon realized how much better I felt emotionally and spiritually by not listening to their biased reporting and their slanted opinions presented as fact.

I don’t know what happened to true journalistic reporting, but it’s absent in most all of today’s news broadcasts on television and radio.

Today’s news is a toxic environment we should avoid.

Toxic Social Media

Another area I’m pulling back from is social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. I only login once a day and then only on weekdays. This is to see if anyone has reached out to me, so I can respond to them.

I don’t scroll through feeds, and aside from family, I follow few people—only those I can trust to be an uplifting, positive source of information or insight.

The hate-filled rhetoric and unexamined parroting of vocal, but misguided, trolls have overtaken the pages of social media. I don’t need their voices screaming at me. I don’t want them encroaching on my daily reality.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Better yet is to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

I’ve not yet shut down my Facebook and my Twitter accounts, but I’m getting close to doing so. Oh, so close. This is because social media is a toxic environment, even worse than the news.

Pursue Positive Thoughts to Escape These Toxic Environments

Instead of enduring the negativity of the news and the unproductive time suck of social media, the Bible gives us eight things to think about.

We should focus our attention on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

These eight positive traits seldom appear in the news or on social media. That’s why we must be intentional about pursuing what is good.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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