Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! (Galatians 4:17-20)
One of my dearest friends was delighted to have a boyfriend who was attentive and charming, too good to be true. But a year into their relationship, he belittled her family and friends, trying to isolate her.
My friend was involved with a narcissist. Cult leaders and Judaizers used the same techniques to attract followers. First, the Judaizers were zealous to win the Galatians over. Then, they alienated them from Paul’s camp so they were dependent upon those Christians who still followed Jewish Law for guidance and self-worth.
Like Paul, I ached for my friend and was perplexed that she didn’t discern her boyfriend’s manipulation. I wanted to be with her and remove her from the bad situation but couldn’t.
We need to assess our own relationships and dissolve those that drain our happiness and distance us from God. I’m proud of my friend for terminating her bond with the narcissist. It wasn’t easy, but she is stronger and happier for doing so.
Father, I praise you for helping me discern relationships. Give me the courage to distance myself from egotists and discouragers and place people in my life who will help me reach the dreams you’ve placed within me. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.