Some people are safe. By that I mean they are genuine, loving, empathetic, honest and trustworthy, reliable. If they say they will do something, they do it. If they care, they share themselves transparently with you, not fearing vulnerability but fearing the separation that comes from NOT being vulnerable. If they have sinned against someone they freely confess it, apologize (taking full responsibility for their actions) and do NOT do it again. They are not like the adulterer who hates being caught, apologizes, and continues to live as an adulterer. If they have broken your trust, they work their butts off to regain and maintain the honor of having it again (through their hard work to build it). You get the picture. Of course you do…you know this is truth. But some people are UNsafe (and for all the reasons stated above only in reverse. Lip service, no heart in it or change of life, kinda like false converts…and many are if they live like that and profess salvation) The genuine are easily recognizable. They bear fruit in keeping with being safe people. However, some are manipulators who use words to attempt to control opinion, people, and reality (sorcerers, God calls them. Or liars…both the same thing) Those…don’t listen to the words, watch the actions. It is in our best interest to be able to recognize them by their fruits. Fruit ALWAYS shows. Regardless of what lips speak.
1. Unsafe people think they “have it all together” instead of admitting their weaknesses.
Results: Feeling disconnected. Intimacy is built on sharing weaknesses, and friendship involves sharing vulnerabilities. There is an implied superiority in the one that has no need for the other. That is purposeful as it serves the unsafe person well in controlling the relationship, not having to be responsible for their sins, never having to be genuine. It is a power play. In marriage, there is no place for it. Especially as God defines marriage. It destroys trust and true intimacy.
2. Unsafe people are religious instead of spiritual.
Results: They may know a lot about theology but nothing about salvation. The word of God is a stumbling block for them as it is never appropriated. They are incapable of leading, teaching, loving Christ. These are the people who can never give a straight answer to how a particular piece of scripture actually applies to their lives, their sin, their relationship with the Lord. They will go with whatever is the “theology of the house”. Double minded, they have no relationship with the Lord themselves so they adapt to whatever sounds most holy and pious. Many start in Seeker friendly churches and never really get it. They are rocky soil seeds. They are long on religious diatribes, short on scriptural application. Some attempt a sort of “word salad” in relating how the bible applies to their lives, hoping to sound “deep”. The only thing deep about them is their sin issues. Really LISTEN to them. Don’t sip that Kool-Aid. It’s cyanide.
3. Unsafe people are defensive instead of open to feedback.
Result: Nothing. There is no progress. There is no change. There is only the same sins over and over again. The purpose that serves is to destroy. Relationships of every kind. Anyone who always has a “reason” why their sin is not sin, or their lies are not lies (besides being a sociopath) is a person who is wholly disgenuine and has the emotional fortitude of a bratty 3 year old. It is a passive form of control. hat is never safe.
As Proverbs 9: 7– 9 says: “Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” The Bible is clear about the need to be able to hear rebuke from others (Matt. 18: 15).
Confrontation helps us learn about ourselves, where we are sinning so we can genuinely repent of it. And it helps us to change destructive patterns in how we relate to people.
All close relationships hurt, because no perfect people live on the earth. But the safe people are the wise ones that can hear their sin and respond to our hurt. In short, they can “own” where they are wrong. If, however, someone has the character trait of defensiveness, when we need to confront him, we are going to be stuck with all the hurt that his natural imperfections cause in the relationship. Someone who does not own his need to change does not change, and the hurt is likely to continue. (And some people get their kicks from hurting others as they are empty of any true emotion and they feed off people’s hurt like vampires feed off the blood of their victims. Godly? Hardly.)
4. Unsafe people are self-righteous instead of humble.
Result: Control through cowardice and pride.
Unsafe people will never identify with others as fellow sinners and strugglers, because they see themselves as somehow “above all of that.” This “I’m better than you” dynamic produces a lot of shame and guilt in people who are associated with this type of unsafe person. It significantly blocks intimacy because the two people are never on “even ground,” which is where human intimacy takes place. It sets up comparison, competitive strivings, defensiveness, and alienation. They have this mentality about sin in general. They will talk about the people “in the world,” as if they are somehow not able to identify with them.
5. Unsafe people only apologize instead of changing their behavior.
Result: No reason or ability to trust them.
The truth is, however, that sorry is as sorry does. The Bible’s word for this is repentance, and it means a true turnaround. But unlike the “spins” that some men make, a true turnaround is one that lasts. That does not mean that there is perfect behavior after that point, but that the change is real and that it bears fruit over time. To repent means to change one’s mind and to turn around and be transformed. Before Jesus’ ministry began, John the Baptist sternly preached repentance to the Jews: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. . . . The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3: 7– 9)
Repentant people will recognize a wrong and really want to change because they do not want to be that kind of person. They are motivated by love to not hurt anyone like that again. These are trustworthy people because they are on the road to holiness and change, and their behavior matters to them. People who apologize quickly may act like they are sorry or as if they are interested in holiness, but they are really leading someone on. They may say all the words, and some are taken in by their tears and “sorrow.” But in reality they are more sorry about getting caught. They do not change, and the future will be exactly like the past.
Again, the issue here is not perfection. People who are changing still are not perfect and may sin again. But there is a qualitative change that is visible in people of repentance that does not have to do with guilt, getting caught, or trying to get someone off their back. The prognosis for change is always better when it is not motivated by a “getting caught” episode, but by real confession and coming to the light about what is wrong. Sometimes, when someone is “caught,” he will repent and change, but that repentance can only be tested over time. The general principle is to look for whether the “repentance” is motivated from outside pressure or from true internal desire to change. Getting caught or adapting to someone’s anger is not a long-lasting motivator. Eventually the motivations must be a hunger and thirst for righteousness and love for the injured.
6. Unsafe people avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them.
Result: Again, nothing. What can result from NOT doing anything except more of the same?
Unsafe people, resist any form of character growth or maturation. Unsafe people do not admit that they have problems, or they think they can solve the problems by themselves. do not submit their life and will to God. do not confess when they have wronged someone do not forgive people who have hurt them. avoid facing relationship problems directly and openly. do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. treat others with a lack of empathy. are not open to confrontation from others. are not in a process of learning and growing. do not take responsibility for their lives. blame other people for their problems. do not want to share their problems with others to help them grow. People who are uninvolved in character growth can be unsafe, because they are shut off from awareness of their own problems and God’s resources to transform those problems. Instead, they act out of their sins, and then sin against others. A sort of wicked Groundhog’s Day.
7. Unsafe people demand trust, instead of earning it.
Result: They can never be trusted
The husband who demanded trust from his wife after lying and cheating to her for years on end is a glaring example of someone who feels entitled to trust. But there are other examples that are not so glaring.
Some people feel that they are entitled to trust. We often hear of someone saying, “So you don’t trust me.” Or “Are you questioning my integrity?” Or “You don’t believe me.” They get defensive and angry because someone questions their actions, and they think they are above being questioned or having to prove their trustworthiness. But none of us is above questioning, and to take offense at it is very prideful. Even the most trustworthy man of all time— Jesus himself— did not demand blind trust. He told the Jews who were challenging him, “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may learn and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (John 10: 37– 38).
In other words, Jesus told them to test what he said by his actions; his miracles proved his words to be true. If, like Jesus, they are truly trustworthy, they would welcome questioning from our loved ones on our “trustability.” They would want others to see their deeds and actions so that we would feel more comfortable. They would want to know what gives us suspicion or fear and try to do everything to allay those fears. Above all, they want to make people feel comfortable with them (in a real sense, not in a false sense of security). In a sense, they should always be open to an “audit” from the ones they say they care about. If they are truly serious about growing, they genuinely want to know if they are unknowingly doing something wrong (Ps. 139: 23– 24). Hidden sins and problems are destructive to all of us, and if they long to grow, they would want them exposed and healed.
They have to be confronted and reminded that trust has to be earned and trustworthiness has to be demonstrated over time. It is a sad commentary that some people are more disturbed by the fact that their friends or spouse won’t trust them than they are at whatever they had done to create that level of mistrust. In short, we are not in any way “entitled” to perfect opinions of us by others. Those opinions are earned. Be wary of people who say, “How dare you question my integrity!” And be wary of unproven integrity that should grow even more honest over time.
8. Unsafe people try to believe they are “perfect” or blameless instead of admitting their faults.
Result: Unsafe people are on a mission to prove that they are perfect. Using their work, family, abilities, or religion, they try to project an image of perfection, and their image becomes more important to them than the relationships they are in. If someone threatens their image, they will attack that person, for they must keep up their image at all costs.
Love, however, depends in part on our ability to own and share our faults. The one who is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7: 47). “Perfect” people cannot internalize grace, so they will not feel loved at a deep level. Therefore, as Jesus pointed out, they do not have a lot of love to give to others. All they have is their “perfection,” and that is pretty shallow and not very nourishing. In addition, relationships with perfect people are very hurtful, because they dodge any “badness” that appears in the relationship. They will fight, blame, stonewall, punish through giving the silent treatment and/or trying to point fingers— anything that will put the badness onto the other person so that they can remain blameless.
9. Unsafe people blame others instead of taking responsibility.
Result: Safe people take responsibility for their lives. Unsafe people don’t. When we become aware of our problems and character issues, God holds us responsible for dealing with them and facing the tough changes that we have to make. Instead of doing this, however, unsafe people will often choose to blame other people, their past, God, sin, or anything else they can find. This tendency to blame others first appeared in Adam and Eve (Gen. 3: 12– 13), and has continued it to this day. It is called externalizing our problems. In other words, they give the responsibility of whatever we are saddled with away to some outside agent.
“When will you get over that?”
“I’m sorry you feel that way”
“You’re the one who is never satisfied with my apology” (for the umpteenth time regarding the same thing they have never stopped doing)
“If you say so”
“I miscommunicated” (euphemism for “I lied again”)
on and on it goes…
If I walk out of my home today and get hit by a drunk driver, that will not be my fault. But it will be my responsibility to deal with the outcome. I am the one who has to go to the doctor and get surgery. I am the one who will have to go to the physical therapist. I am the one who will have to grieve. And I will be the one who has to work through the anger and do the forgiving. Those things are all my responsibility, even though I did not choose to get hit by a drunk driver.
Unsafe people do not do that hard work. They stay angry, stuck, and bitter, sometimes for life. When they feel upset, they see others as the cause, and others as the ones who have to do all the changing. When they are confronted on their sin or a destructive way of living it angers them, they hold on to it with a vengeance and spew either passive or aggressive (or a little of both depending on which serves them best at the time) anger for the rest of their lives. And worst of all, when they are wrong, they blame it on others. Denial is the active process that someone uses to avoid responsibility. It is different from being unaware of sin. When we are unaware, we do not know about our sin. Denial is more active than that. It is a style and an agenda, and it can be very aggressive when truth comes close. People with a style of denial and blaming are definitely on the list of unsafe people to avoid.
10. Unsafe people lie instead of telling the truth.
Result: Absolutely cannot be trusted in anything.
In a relationship, honesty is the bedrock foundation of a safe relationship. To the degree that there is deception, there is danger. Often we have heard spouses and friends talk about someone that they “thought they knew,” only to find out that this person was living a whole other life they did not know about (and that makes it impossible to ever know what is going on with them because they are liars. sound like any relationship God has designed? I don’t think so either. It is a relationship with a devil in skin).
The difference between safe and unsafe people is that safe people own their “stuff” and sins and see them as a problem to change as they become aware of. That gives way to truth, confrontation, humility, and repentance. Unsafe people see deception as a strategy to cling to and to manage life and relationships. They defend instead of give up their lies. And there is no way a relationship can prosper and grow if one person is a liar. (Serves Satan well as he hates marriage, as God created it. He hates any genuine relationship as two are stronger than one, and he hates truth in all forms. He is a liar and the FATHER of all liars)
11. Unsafe people are stagnant instead of growing.
Result: Moral decay and a life that is rotting away.
Each of us has both fixed aspects of our character and things that we can change. For example, a naturally aggressive person will probably not change to be naturally passive. But that person can learn to channel that aggression in acceptable ways. This kind of change is part of the sanctification process that we undergo as we place ourselves under the lordship of Christ. Safe people know that they are subject to change. They want to mature and grow over time. But unsafe people do not see their own problems; they are rigidly fixed and not subject to growth (Prov. 17: 10). These people can be dangerous, and they will only change when there are enough limits placed on them that they are forced into great pain, humility, and loss. Without this confrontation, unsafe people will remain defiant and unchanged. And even then, some will fake sincerity and “seeing their need” and simply manipulate that environment, do and say what they think people want them to, and wait til they think they “heat” is off and then continue as they always have. Those people will never be safe, as they are as pathological as the devil himself.
So there you have it…a partial but essential list of what unsafe people do. If you meet one and see these things (they will eventually show, given proper time and circumstance), RUN. And don’t look back. Pray for them from a safe distance. Only God can change a heart. Anything less than ongoing genuine growing change…more window dressing of an unsafe person. If you are in a relationship with one of these, remember that God sets clear boundaries and we are to as well. Set some for yourself and remember who determines truth. It is not the unsafe person. God determines truth in His word, and you determine whether they are living up to it or not. YOU are the one who determines if they are treating you as God says they should, not them. Unsafe people have disqualified themselves from determining any truth, especially those who are pathological liars (and the truth is not in them). Set your boundaries. Some things simply are not acceptable no matter what. Objective truth always shows itself. Always. Stay in the objective, leave the subjective to the unsafe people to wallow in. And leave them to God. He will deal rightly with them. Count on it. It is called condemnation. Be sure you are not stooping to their level and that you honor Him regardless of what they do. He will deal rightly with you as well. It is called a reward. If you belong to Him, He knows. And you are never alone nor without recourse. Maranatha.
And Everyone Who Has This Hope In Him Purifies Himself, Just As He Is Pure.
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins,
And in Him there is no sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin.
Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, Let No One Deceive You.
He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.