(photo courtesy: graphicstock.com)
“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”- Proverbs 10:12 (NIV)
We all have difficult people in our lives. We have all had someone who has rubbed us the wrong way and caused us to cringe when they walked into the room. If you haven’t, well, congratulations on living in the woods…in Alaska! Wait, how are you reading this?
Anyway, it is a struggle we all deal with and, for the most part we handle it pretty well, but what happens when they keep pushing the buttons and cause you to lose sleep at night? What should you do then?
I remember when I was a kid and I had kids in my life that made me angry or caused me to want to throw a punch or cuss word their way, my grandma would say: “Just get away from them. Don’t be in their area and you won’t get frustrated.” This was such great grandma advice back when I was a kid, but I’m an adult now and I can’t get away from people like I could on a giant playground. What now grandma?! I’m not knocking my grandma’s advice because she is a saint, but I’m seriously questioning it.
So, here are three steps we can take today to help us deal with the difficult people in our lives, besides running away to the woods in Alaska…
1) PRAY: I know this seems so cliché, but it shouldn’t be for people who seriously claim to be a follower of Christ. Prayer is powerful, another cliché, but it makes the difference for us in our attitude. When we are quick to pray, then we might be slower to anger. Our reaction to the difficult people in our lives is severely affected by our action with God. This isn’t merely praying for you to be able to handle the people, but for God to handle them. Ultimately, God is the One who will deal with their issues and bring healing in their lives. May we pray diligently for our enemies and walk with them in grace.
2) LOVE: We are called to love people as Christ loves us. We are called to love people with the grace that Christ has shared with us. We have all had our difficult times and we have all been forgiven for it by God. We cannot look at Christ and say “Thank you Lord for giving me grace”, but turn around and hold someone with disdain because they have rubbed us the wrong way. It is unfair and unjustified. May we rise to the call of loving one another as Christ loved us in order to reveal the glory of His grace.
3) SERVE: There is something about serving people that draws us to love more. When we serve those who are difficult in our lives it reveals a heart willing to truly follow Christ’s lead. Christ served communion to His disciple’s before He died, even the one who was chosen to betray Him! He served bread (His body) and wine (His blood) to the very person who was going to lead the soldiers to sacrifice His body and spill His blood for the sins of the world. He set the standard for service, especially serving those who will turn against us. May we serve with a willing spirit for those who are choosing to cause us difficulty in life.
Our attitudes towards those who cause us problems can either reveal the glory of our Creator or reveal the ugliness of our humanity. If our hearts are truly changed by Christ, then our actions towards difficult people will declare that change.
May we come to pray for, love more, and serve wholeheartedly those who are difficult.
May we also come to recognize if we are the difficult people in the lives of others and strive to pray for reconciliation, love for re-connection, and serve to reveal our revelation.
QUESTION: How Do You Find Yourself Handling Difficult People?