At some point in our lives we all get to deal with difficult people. This might be in school, at work, in our neighbourhoods, in church or even in our own families. No one likes difficult people and often times, we dread being around them. The unfortunate part is, difficult people exist and they are surely not going anywhere!
In a world that is filled with different types of difficult people; those who are rude, the whiners, the pessimistic, the know-it-all type, the passive, the tanks, downers and the clams – one cannot avoid them forever. Different factors and environments have shaped them to be who they are. Some are difficult, because of the stressful lives they are living. Some are difficult because that’s the environment they are coming from and that’s all they know. Some are difficult because they enjoy pulling others down, hence they feel superior when they degrade others. Difficult people come in all shapes and sizes and we need to know how best we can handle them.
Allow me to share some wisdom with you; Wisdom that will empower you and enable you to handle any difficult person ‘God’s way’. In dealing with difficult people, our power does not come from attaining a full understanding of where they are coming from. Our power comes from knowing how best we can handle them.
Naturally we have all developed our coping mechanisms when it comes to handling such people. We sometimes go by what we feel or what makes us feel better. Some of these ways are avoiding them, cutting them off, distancing ourselves from them and making sure we do not continue doing good to them. However, in Luke 6:27–36 Jesus has a special lesson for us. A lesson that we have to master.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
In the above scriptures, Jesus corrects us in many ways. He teaches us that it is almost effortless to only love those who love you. It comes natural and those who do not even believe in Him can do that very well. He then teaches us that what separates us from everyone else and what is only credible before our maker is when we go above and beyond- i.e.when we chose to love difficult people. Jesus asks us to continue doing good to them, without any expectations. In addition to doing good to them, we are also instructed to pray for them.
You might wonder why Jesus asked us to handle difficult people this way. Well there are quite a number of reasons.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Our motive in handling them God’s way is to preserve peace regardless of who they are and how they treat us. We are to try as much as we can to have peaceful relationships with them. In the beatitudes, Jesus Christ—the Prince of Peace—said that those who are peacemakers will be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). If we bear this in mind, every time we deal with a difficult person, then we will surely make the right decision in handling them. By doing so, we are guaranteed of being called the children of God.
I believe praying for them, is asking God to be in control and intervene in such a way that He will change the person, rather than us doing it. By being kind to them, and continuing to do good, we are also ministering to them, for at some point in our lives, they will notice it and will want to know about the God whom we serve.
Let us be merciful just as our Father is merciful. Let us love everyone including those who are difficult to deal with. Let us pray for our loved ones as well as our enemies. By doing so, our reward will be great, and we will be children of the Most High.