Difficult People

As Christians, we should try to get along with the people around us. That does not mean we must always agree with them, but we also should not intentionally look for opportunities to anger and upset people. Romans 12:18 tells us, “18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”. This verse tells us it may not always be possible, but we should try. Sometimes, its just difficult.

Some Tips

I – Speak with Respect

Disagreements and misunderstandings will happen in life, but this is not an excuse to disrespect others. The Bible tells us that we should speak to others with Love…

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 –”Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

Doesn’t this all kind of go along with what we’ve been talking about over the past few months? Humble and Kind with Love as our focus should always be our way.

It’s quite simple if you think about it. Its not really all that hard to be humble. Keep your head out of the clouds and your feet firmly planted on this earth. Here are some more lessons from the Bible which state this fact even further.

Colossians 4:6”6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Proverbs 15:1 ”A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

How many times have you seen that? Someone may be talking to you in anger, with a loud voice and when you’ve responded with calmness, their mood and whole demeanor seems to begin to change.

Maybe the best way to sum this all up is to deal with people with Love. Love the unsaved in such a way that they will want to know more about our God!

II – Follow the Pattern in Matthew 18

Matthew 18:15-17 15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

There is a distinct pattern given here for dealing with a problem. I believe this is primarily talking about dealing with problems among believers, but it can be applied in many situations. First go privately to the one with whom the problem is. Secondly, you take a couple of people with you so that you can establish the facts and that it is no longer a “he said, she said” argument. Finally, if you cannot resolve the issue then bring it to the attention of the authorities or those in greater position of power. Again, these verses are talking about the authority of the church, but it could also be applied to your office situation.

Along the lines of this, remember that there is safety in a multitude of counselors. Find people to talk with about the problem. These should be trusted people and not the church gossip. When talking to others about the problem, they may point out to you your own faults in the conflict.

Always keep in mind, the 9th commandment: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Always be truthful in all that you say.

III – Sometimes You Need to Walk Away

Sometimes it is better to walk away from an argument than to continue to dwell on it. This is not liberty to walk away from everything. There are things worth fighting for. But then there are things that just aren’t worth your time and allowing them to spoil your own relationship with the Lord.

You should allow the Lord to give you direction on how to deal with different problems. After David was anointed king, but before he took the throne, he had to deal with Saul. God had already rejected Saul from being king over Israel. David realized that was a fight between Saul and God.

David allowed God to fight on his behalf. This is the same man who years before stood up for God and fought on behalf of God when facing Goliath. David had wisdom on knowing when it was time to fight and when it was time to walk away and allow God to handle the problem.

1 Samuel 24:10 ”10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.”

IV – Their Argument May Not Be with You

Sometimes a person will take out their frustration and anger on you when you aren’t really the problem. It doesn’t make you feel any better, but it may keep you from carrying a burden that isn’t really yours to carry. You may represent something (Christianity, God, authority) that they don’t like. Try not to take the argument and conflict personally.

The Hebrew people said to Samuel that he was too old to be their leader. They wanted a king who could go out to war and fight with them. Samuel felt pretty bad about the situation. He went to God depressed and complaining. God replied that the people were not angry with Samuel but they were angry with God. They were just taking out their frustrations on the prophet.

1 Samuel 8:7And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”

V – Examine Yourself

Before we can effectively deal with the problems in others, we must take care of ourselves. Matthew 7 gives an illustration that may seem silly, but it talks about human nature. The idea is that someone with a large piece of wood sticking out of their eye is criticizing another person who has a speck of dust in theirs. The one with the large piece of wood tries to ignore their own problem while dealing with the problems of others. Don’t be that person. Go to God and deal with your own faults before you try to correct others. When you humble yourself before God in confession then you will more gently handle the situation that you are in with the other person.

Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

VI – Remember You Are Accountable to God

You are accountable to God for your own actions. You cannot control what the other person does, but you can control how you respond. They too will be accountable for their actions, but not to you. They are accountable to God. God will hold you responsible for the way you act towards them. Paul admonishes us in Romans to realize that we are individually responsible for our actions and to not intentionally cause others to stumble and fall before the Lord.

Romans 14:10-1310 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

VII – Pray for Them

Sometimes people don’t even understand what they’re angry about. For reasons unknown to us, they are lost, confused and without a solution for their troubles. We, as believers of a greater God must realize this and only pray for their healing. Their words are often harsh only because they do not understand. God teaches us to be fair. We’re all the same in God’s eyes.

Matthew 5:44-4544 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

VIII – Sometimes You Must Agree to Disagree

Sometimes, we and those we’re disagreeing with are firmly set in our ways. We choose to believe what we believe and there is nothing that anyone can tell us otherwise.

This is okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and only God can judge who is wrong and who is right. This is something we don’t have the right to decide. Let bygones be bygones and simply agree to disagree.

A lesson to me…

The other day I had stopped for a few drinks after work and was chatting with some friends as well as the bartender. We deal, every weekend, with a very self-centered, egotistical man who always speaks so highly of himself but never lends thought to anyone around him. It simply… me, me, me! As we were talking down about this man, the bartender said to me “Woody, if he wasn’t here, you’d miss him.

Think about that when you’re at odds. What if the person you were arguing with was no longer in your life? Gone forever?

Summary: Treat People with Love

Maybe the best way to sum this all up is to deal with people in love. Love the unsaved in such a way that they will want to know more about your God. Love them so that their arguments will melt away. Love your Christian brother in a manner that will help him see how petty his arguments with you are. Your love may bring conviction to the saved or unsaved to help them turn to God for forgiveness.