Are there any people in your life that are difficult to get along with or hard to love? I’m sure a few may have already popped into mind.
Overly critical parents, mean in-laws, an unforgiving spouse with an abusive tongue, a wayward child, lost family members, backstabbing friends and crazy co-workers. Whoever they are, difficult people are everywhere and will always be in our lives. So what do we do with these people and the stressful relationships that come along with them?
Our natural tendency may be to avoid them as much as possible, and save ourselves from needless stress and conflict. Avoidance is the easy thing to do, which is why we should do the exact opposite.
Instead of running away from difficult people, we should move intentionally towards them. I know that sounds counterintuitive, however, bible scripture offers lots of guidance as to why we should.
Luke 6:32-42 sums it all up…be merciful and forgive, because God is merciful and forgave you. Don’t judge others, because you may be the “difficult” one.
So how do we apply this sound advice in our own lives, and be more loving towards difficult people? There are many ways, but a few stand out in my mind.
Pray for yourself and pray for them. Ask the Lord to help you. Jesus will begin to soften your heart towards them and shield you from anger and offense. He’ll bless you with the fruit of the spirit and give you wisdom; and at the same time, he’ll be working on them too!
- Deal with it
It may be easier to avoid those difficult people, but if you do, you’re only delaying the inevitable. Ask God to create circumstances that will work all things together for good. The situation may be uncomfortable and downright unpleasant, but God has got your back and will equip you. Sometimes difficult conversations are necessary; remember, it isn’t always about you. God could be using you to help them. Be ready!
- Remember God’s Grace
God’s grace saved you. Remember to give grace to others. It may be challenging to do under certain circumstances, and you may want to give up. If that’s the case, go back to step one. Pray and ask God to help you endure it and to forgive. Ask God for grace not to run away, but to keep engaging in love that difficult and hard to love person.
Have you had success at navigating difficult relationships? Has God used a difficult person in your life to draw you closer and to strengthen your faith walk? If he has, please share your story. Our successes in life give God glory and help to encourage others.
Bless you today and every day!