There are some words nowadays that you don’t ever want to be labeled with.
Homophobic and racist are two that come to mind immediately.
But I think the trending word—the weapon of choice in our current culture is toxic.
The word sounds as nasty as its meaning. And its effects on your reputation are devastating. Being labeled as toxic is almost the equivalent of being handed a social death certificate.
But for a word that is so lethal, it sure is thrown around pretty carelessly.
It seems commonplace now to arbitrarily place the toxic label on people; not because it accurately fits them, but because we feel like they deserve it.
Maybe we just don’t like them. Or perhaps there is some hurt (real or imagined) that they’ve inflicted on us that spurns us to retaliate, but in a passive-aggressive way. Maybe they’re a part of a certain opposing political party or social group that we just know can’t be up to any good.
Could it be though that our rush to file people in the radioactive category is a desperate, underhanded attempt at feeling better about ourselves?
For instance, if a relationship doesn’t work out, I can say that it was toxic anyway…and if I’m the one to say that first, then everyone will assume that the other person was the toxin, and I’ll look much better in comparison.
See what I mean?
Am I denying that certain relationships are bad for you? Nope.
Am I denying that there are nasty people out there? Nope.
But everyone has toxins…including us. And if we’re really honest, our viewpoint of certain “toxic” people just might be distorted by the mental hazmat suit we have on. Sure, a hazmat suit is great for protecting you from external hazardous materials.
It sucks at helping you when the hazard is on the inside.
Truthfully, if there is one person who has every right to arbitrarily label people as toxic, it’s Jesus.
Glad He doesn’t use that word so carelessly.
Featured Image by Connor Botts