Sunday, May 25, 2014

difficult people

In my profession, I am frequently confronted on the back-end of our ministry with difficult people. These are people who represent the dissatisfied part of DW's audience. In general, they approach me in venomous anger and are determined from the beginning to debate, insult, threaten, boast and disagree with the beliefs and/or make-up of The Devoted Woman Ministry. It is a regular part of my role that leads me directly to my knees in prayer... begging God to continue working in my heart so that my default attitude to dislike someone does not take center stage and overshadow the love that God wishes me to extend to EVERYONE. I'll be honest with you... it isn't easy.

When faced with the spiritual test of interacting with "the difficult", I think it is important for each of us to remember the perfect example given by Jesus. Christ was approached by every kind of difficult individual out there, yet He still made sure to show and tell his followers how to deal with individuals who hate, curse and mistreat. I am so thankful for His teaching from the sermon on the mount. There He taught this, "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:27-31)

Jesus never looked at anyone with an attitude of superiority or haughtiness. He came to earth with the ultimate authority of heaven, but still made the point to approach every individual with love and respect. Jesus extended to others a servant's heart and did everything for the sake of glorifying His Father in Heaven.

God provides us clear direction in dealing with difficult persons whose speech is full of foolishness. These individuals like to argue for the sake of arguing and usually come to challenge God's word with their own sinful reasoning. Proverbs has a wealth of information to say about such difficult people. They despise wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 22, 10:21, 23:9); they are right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15); they are deceitful (Proverbs 14:8) and scornful (Proverbs 10:23, 14:9). Scripture is clear regarding how we are to deal with fools... For negligible issues we should just ignore their foolishness. However, in issues that matter, they must be dealt with so that credence will not be given to what they say. In general, it is usually better to walk away from an argument that will only spin you in circles. The only exception is when we give an answer of reproof that is supported biblically so that God's word can be given as the true voice of reason. It is likely that the wisdom of scripture will be despised and rejected, but God expects you to make the attempt... both for the sake of the Truth which is always to be declared, and for the sake of those listening. We must leave it up to the Holy Spirit to work in someone's heart when sharing the wisdom of God against man's folly.

As I type this, I am reminded of someone I know personally. This person has actually become predictable to me in their method to try and suck me into debating God's word. Unfortunately, they show no interest in God, except to argue against Him, and they use all means to reel me into their agenda: deceit, drama, scoffing, anger, insults and abuse. We all have people in our lives like this. We all have to constantly be on guard when such spiritual warfare arises and pray for our hearts and minds to stay protected from "going there". As Christians, we shoud not fall into such schemes of the devil. It is not healthy or holy. Rather, it is best that we disagree once in love and then leave the matter with God to handle. Sure, we need to continue to love and pray for them. But let's face it, God is the only One that can turn a hardened heart anyway. No amount of our arguing can come close to His still, small voice. Amen to that!

Let's instead walk away and live by the admonition given to us by the apostle Paul in Romans 12, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you... Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3)

Ladies, we can successfully and biblically deal with difficult people. Each test, each opportunity should be viewed as an occasion to share God's word with another as well as praise our Teacher for showing us how to behave like Christ.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3-4)

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. (Proverbs 12:16)


Always remember that love is patient and kind. When you find yourself speaking to a challenging temperament, and/or foolish, angry ears... maintain a humble, quiet spirit. Then move on and pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to change your heart toward that difficult person and enable you to see them as God does. They need the same love, grace and mercy that Christ extended to you when you were lost. Without His love, we would never have received our salvation. So, we too must imitate the character of our perfect Redeemer who forgives and loves all who seek Him. This is behavior that edifies and pleases our King. Through the most difficult dialog and interaction, let's bring glory to our Almighty Father.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© 2009 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

12 comments:

  1. Dear Victoria
    I am sorry that people are being difficult.
    Unfortunately there are always people who cause trouble and hurt no matter what a person does or tries to do.
    However there are many decent folk around and people who appreciate what you do and The Devoted Woman. That is what is important.
    May God bless you today and always.
    Thank you for providing this site and for all you do.

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  2. Dear Victoria: I get such a blessing from reading your post every day. Some people not of Christ gets defensive, because they know they are not living right. The Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword, and it cuts them, so count it all joy. Continue being the blessing you are to al those that desire the blessings of a relationship with the Lord!!

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  3. Thank you for letting the Lord lead you in sharing with us. this is exactly what I needed to hear this morning to start my week!Praise God!

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  4. Thanks for the reminder to not let myself fall into those fools arguments. Especially as I go back to work this morning where those arguments are plentiful. Have a blessed day!

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  5. I totally don't have problems with unsaved people. Of course their going to argue and be horrible cause they haven't met TRUTH yet. But Believers who are nice to your face and say horrible things behind your back, that one is harder. It would be so much easier if they were horrible all the time. But the fact that they're nice in your presence and they say bad things when your not there. But your teaching still applies. Help me Lord to love those who are my enemies.

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  6. Wow, the timing of this devotion is impeccable! My husband and I were just discussing how certain people (primarily non-believers) cannot civilly discuss an issue if your opinion differs from theirs without verbally attacking, hurling insults and cursing.

    In a recent attempt to discuss creation vs. evolution, the evolutionist called my husband every foul name in the book. My DH kept calm, never insulted nor attacked back but merely asked them to state a fact, just one fact, about evolution that they could discuss and the other party went ballistic. I suspect that they hide behind verbal abuse when they have nothing worthy to say.

    Thanks for this devotion. It is spot on! Abundant Blessings!

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  7. I am glad I found this site. I look forward everyday to reading the words for the day. It is like a devotional to me!!! May God bless this ministry, and you and your staff. May God continue to lead you and the staff, and fill you with His mighty peace!!!

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  8. Hi Victoria! Iam Praying with you! I really thank God for your life. Inspite of negative feedbacks , persecutions that you are receiving from other people you are still showing them Christ's Love. We are here to pray for you! GO! Go! GO! God Bless you more!

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  9. catherinesteelehorowitzMonday, October 26, 2009

    We call those people who have great difficulty in life "EGRs" - Extra Grace Required". From time to time we all require Extra Grace and that term always helped me to keep those hurting, the angry and the lonely in prayer and in love. Who knew that one day I would become an EGR and require God's extra grace!Thank you to everyone who gane me that EGR!

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  10. Thank you for sharing! However, remember that all difficulties in life comes to make us better!

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  11. I really needed to read this today. I have been dealing with a very difficult co-worker. He is belligerent and argumentative...then tells people there is something wrong with them and says he's adding them to his prayer list. The Lord is working with me now so I don't continue to get sucked into these situations with him. GREAT WRITING! Thank you!

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