Question: What are the Deal Breakers?

eggNo one is perfect.  We know that, don’t we?  People make mistakes and blunders.  To expect near perfection in the behavior of people is to invite much disappointment.


Yet, there are some behaviors that are usually "deal breakers."  That is, they often lead to a severe breach in the trust relationship between friends, between a minister and the congregation, between a person and a team of people.  (I am not suggesting that these behaviors automatically mean that the relationship with these people has come to an end.  Rather, I am attempting to recognize some of the behaviors that often lead to a severe breach in the relationship.)


What are these deal breakers?


1.  A consistent pattern of lying.  This is often not a "big lie" but a consistent pattern of lying about matters so that people really don’t know from moment to moment whether or not you are telling the truth.


2.  A refusal or inability to get along with others.  Perhaps you have known people like this.  I knew a preacher who was an excellent speaker.  He not only spoke well but handled Scripture very responsibly.  He was highly intelligent.  Yet, he was extremely difficult to work with.  He had a way of repeatedly turning conversations into verbal fights.  Those who worked with him said that he just "wore the church out" with his stubbornness and antagonistic spirit.


Perhaps you have worked with someone similar to this in your own job.  Working with such people can be exhausting and draining.


3.  Theft.  Certainly this would include stealing money, equipment or merchandise.  Yet, I do think that plagiarism is an emotional deal breaker for many people.  When a preacher is caught in a regular pattern of presenting someone else’s material as his own, there will probably be a severe loss of credibility in the minds of many, many people in that person’s church.  I suspect that such a revelation will leave a church wondering from then on if the preacher is actually using his own material or not.


I would like to hear your thoughts on this issue.   What are the deal breakers in relationships? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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16 thoughts on “Question: What are the Deal Breakers?

  1. Disrespect.  Seen in manipulation and using people to advance self and personal agenda. (Closely related to insincerity, dishonesty and selfishness.) Often associated with verbal putdown, especially of all who disagree. Often prompted by insecurity and fear.

  2. Jim,
    Wonderful post and topic that many people avoid this subject.  There have been many times in my life where I have experienced this from others in business.  Thank you so much for dealing with this for us all and challenging us to seriously evaluate our co-workers, friends, bosses and other associates that we have in our lives.  I believe that many deal breakers can be avoided by what you mention.  I want to thank you for your optinism and willingness to deal with issues that matter.  God bless you brother and hope you and your family have a wonderful week.  I pray for you and your ministry daily.  You are such an influence in my life as well as the others believers around the world. 

  3. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to have fewer and fewer deal breakers. Not that I have no expectations of my friends. But just that I am so much more keenly aware of my own failings. And I want the grace of others in those matters… which means I’m also more compelled to extend it.

  4. Eddy–As I saw the word "disrespect" in your comment, my mind immediately went to a few situations where that very attitude seemed to do so much damage.  Very good!  Thanks.

  5. Kinney– Thanks very much.  I appreciate your kind and encouraging words.  The reason for this post is that I have been thinking about what seems to cause a complete rupture in a relationship.  While this isn’t the most pleasant subject to think about, there are far too many relationships which seem to be severing.

  6. L.L.–I appreciate your remarks.  Far too many of us show such little grace toward others in our lives.  Your words of grace are an important reminder to reflect upon how we behave toward others that may fail us on occasion. I am also concerned about those who behave in thoughtless, inconsiderate ways that often sever relationships.Thanks for your comment L.L.

  7. This is tough.  Interestingly, your second one seemed odd to me, because it was so "subjective," but then I thought of how the bible speaks of a divisive person.  I suppose I would say someone who consistently demonstrates a lack of teachability.  But even so, the response to all of these things must be love and grace, but sometimes love and grace may not look like what we expect. 

  8. Another insightful post, this brings several things to the surface for me.
    The context here is the preacher-church relationship.  Being a preacher (me too) you expect much from yourself and want to practice what you preach, to model what you mouth.  But I as I read the post and the comments, I couldn’t help think about the other side of the relationship.  Most churches don’t seem to think they’re capable of telling a lie, or of being abusive, or of stealing.  Among other things, good elders are ones who ensure that the congregation doesn’t do that to those who would serve with them.

  9. Frank
    I think from what I have seen and how I react it would be the inability to be a team player.  One who through manipulation, negativity, isolation or passive aggressive behavior does not uphold the team.  This shows itself in so many ways but always communicates lack of value and disrespect for the others on the team.
    Don’t read – absolute sell out to group think – that is not what I am talking about.
    Have a blessed weekend.

  10. Bryan,I appreciate your comment very much.  I probably wasn’t very clear in #2 as to what I meant.  I am thinking of people who have a long, long track record of broken relationships.  In fact, I have known a few people whose pattern was fairly predictable.  The relationship (whether friendship, marriage, or church) seemed to begin so well and usually end up with this person exploding and then blaming the other person for the breach in the relationship.There is some subjectivity to this.  You are right.  At the same time, I do think that over time we often develop patterns which are observable to others.

  11. Frank,I appreciate your looking at the other side of this relationship in the life of the church.  What you are saying is very, very important.  Thanks.

  12. Arlene,I like these lines: One who through manipulation, negativity, isolation or passive
    aggressive behavior does not uphold the team.  This shows itself in so
    many ways but always communicates lack of value and disrespect for the
    others on the team
    Have you considered posting on this sometime?  It seems like a lot could be unpacked here especially in regard to the four behaviors that you mention in this first sentence (above). Thanks so much. 

    Frank, I did not mean to address my comment to you.  I loved what you said and I was thinking about it when I started typing.  I meant to begin with "Jim"….. so sorry!
    Love and respect both of you a ton!

  14. Another excellent topic. I agree with all your points. People who exhibit these traits are not out of my life though. I still treat them with grace, mercy, kindness – Lord giving me strength – much strength – but I no longer trust them and am cautious in my interactions with them. I also observe them and I delight when the Lord convicts them of their sin and brings about a change in their heart. Then trust can be rebuilt. For me another deal breaker is someone who slanders and constantly wants me to believe evil about another person in order to divide our friendship. "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him." Those are strong words in Titus 3, I know, but I distance myself emotionally from those people.  I had a senior living in the manor I manage and he constantly maligned our board member and president and spoke things that I personally knew to be grave lies.  I would meet his needs and requests as manager to tenant, but would not allow myself to get drawn into his discussions about others.Personally I lost one relationship because believed a lie that was spread about me. It took years for this person to realize this and the relationship has been restored, better than before.  Thank God!It’s hard and we cannot do it in our own strength.