Getting down to business: How to deal with difficult people – Part III
We have all been in situations where we have had to deal with difficult people. This can be a big source of stress in our lives. They can be our family or friends and even sitting next to us at church or in our place of work, where there are so many different personalities.
- The discourager, who usually has nothing good to say to us or about us.
- The gossip, who spreads rumours and constantly talks about people behind their backs, hurting relationships and others’ reputations.
- The fibber, who lies or exaggerates the truth to gain an advantage.
- The chronic complainer, who sees everything wrong with others. They can drain you mentally and emotionally.
- The ball dropper, who is often late for appointments and makes others look bad.
- The brown-noser, who is always trying to be on the boss’ good side and normally only cares about what others can do for them.
- The defender, who always blames someone else because they are ultra-touchy, are thin-skinned and cannot handle criticism or correction.
- The ego-monger, who always wants credit and to be the centre of attention.
Regardless of which category they fall into, we do not enjoy being around difficult people. They have a tendency to make our lives uncomfortable, even miserable and we tend to avoid them as much as is humanly possible. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, we will never be able to get away from the difficult people in our lives. Not only is it impossible to avoid them, but God places us around them.
God intentionally places them in our lives for a purpose. But why would God do that?
There are three reasons God wants us around difficult people. The first reason is that God wants to open our eyes to a fault in our own lives. Sometimes what most irritates us about someone is the same or a similar problem in us. Jesus said in Matthew 7:3, ESV, “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own eye?” When we see something irritating in other persons, instead of focusing on it, we should ask ourselves, “Do I have the same or worse traits in my life?”
The second reason God intentionally places difficult people in our lives is that He wants to reveal our true character by putting us into pressuring situations. James 1:3 (The Message) says, “You know that under pressure your faith life is forced into the oven and shows its true colours.” Some of us live our lives never showing anyone our true self, hiding what is really on the inside. But only when we see what’s really on the inside can we begin to change.
The third reason God places difficult people in our lives is that He wants to change our character and make us more like the person He wants us to be. He encourages us in James 1:4 (MSG) to not “ … try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way”. God puts difficult people in our lives so that He can change us. So instead of spending our time worrying about them, trying to avoid them, or feeling sorry for ourselves, let’s learn how to deal with them.
Prayer: Father, I thank You that You give me direction in my relationships. Lord, teach me how to handle difficult people. Help me to see them the way You see them. I am grateful that they have a purpose in my life to help me grow into the person you want me to be. Show me how to be more like You, in Jesus’ name, amen!
Join us next week as we discuss practical ways to deal with difficult people in our lives.