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This is not a list where it’s all or nothing—that is, in order to be a disciple, all of these ideas need to be in place.

It’s important to remember that discipleship is a process and a journey.

Maybe it’s a boyfriend who is physically abusive, or a girlfriend who is controlling and emotionally manipulative.

Regardless, I often see the rationalizing of major dysfunction.

Many of us would rather put up with abuse and dysfunction in our relationships than be alone, so we go to great lengths to minimize or deny any abusive behaviour.

“Well, she’s not like that all the time.” “It isn’t really that bad.” “It’s no big deal.

We must never ask or assume another person can provide what only God can.

When we stop looking to a relationship to be the key that will unlock the potential of our lives, we open up space for healthy relationships to emerge into what they are meant to be. “Christians should only date Christians.” That opinion is repeated in countless books on Christian dating, and yet from my point of view it’s just not a helpful way of approaching things.

Each one has its fault lines and issues, but there comes a point when a challenging relationship becomes a destructive one, and when abusive patterns have emerged that line has been crossed. If we don’t identify and end the abusive relationship until it has run its course, we will be heartbroken and devastated.Or maybe we believe we’re the one sent into this person’s life to do the saving, to make them a better person, and so we wear the abuse as a kind of badge of honour.

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