Dealing with difficult people is a major turn-off that can threaten our Christian faith. We face difficult people almost everywhere (at work, church, grocery stores e.t.c it’s even worse when they are members of your family (sigh, because you are in contact with them constantly).
Experiences with difficult people can play our emotions in different ways. There is a tendency to feel angry, frustrated, hurt e.t.c
These feelings can lead to grudges, exchange of unpleasant words, offences, unforgiveness and resentments. It is important to analyse how to avoid or manage situations like this.
UNDERSTANDING WHO YOU ARE HELPS TO SHAPE YOUR DECISION
• You are the light of the world, an ambassador of Christ (Your actions should reflect how Christ will act).
• You are filled with the Holy Spirit, therefore, you are led by the Holy Spirit, not your emotions.
• You are the precious daughter of the highest God, seeking to please the father. He has instructed us to follow peace with all men without which no one can see God.
Haven mentioned all these points, I know it’s a bit challenging to deal with in real life, I say that because I have encountered difficult people too.
•It’s hard when you are being taken for granted.
• It’s hard when you’ve been disrespected and pushed beyond your limits
• It’s hard when someone is so mean and insensitive
The list could go on!
We hear phrases like “I have lost my patience” “I can’t take this anymore”…If you are at this point, I want to remind you today that with God nothing is impossible and that you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you.
PRACTICAL STEPS TO TAKE IN DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE
1. Avoid them if you can Proverbs 22:24-25, Proverbs 20:3
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared”.
2. Give Soft answers if you need to Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 17:14 Avoid insults or abusive words.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”
3. Pray for them (Luke 23:34a) Jesus prayed for those who persecuted him. One way of loving them unconditionally is to pray for them. Sometimes these people are hiding hidden pains from the past or present, betrayals and challenges. They become bitter and just pour out their aggressions and frustration on you.
4. Consider them to be a test of your Christian faith: How do you exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit if you’ve not been tested. We can only pass an examination after a test. Situations like this build us up because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
5. Be kind to yourself: In Ephesians 4:26 we see that being angry is not a sin, how we react is what can make it become sinful. Acknowledge how you feel, talk to God about it. Experiences are a part of life, don’t blame yourself or condemn your actions. Learn from your mistakes, dress up and stay cheerful.
“In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
5. Seek Help: When it seems like it’s beginning to affect your mental wellbeing, seek help. Talk to your support system, Talk to experts, Talk to your pastor or trusted spiritual leaders. Do not bottle things up.
6. Set healthy boundaries by communicating: I am a firm believer that communication helps a lot. Prayerfully seeks God’s help and leading. Invite them for a peaceful dialogue (Be real and direct), you can go out for a meal if it’s visible. Let them know what you can tolerate and not tolerate, try to find out why they act the way they do, apologise to each other if necessary. That way it hopefully won’t repeat itself again.
In conclusion, how we handle difficult people is peculiar to each situation (the person’s temperament and values come into play in making our decision. Prayerfully seek God’s guidance.