We all know that one person who rankles us, gets under our skin and irritates us to our very core. You can be having a perfect day, be in the very best of moods, and suddenly that stops. Just the mention of their name causes the hair on your arms to stand up and your lip to snarl. Maybe it is that lady at church who feels the need to mock you in front of a whole group of people or the coworker who has belittled you and insulted you almost continually for years. Well today I want to offer you some encouragement for dealing with that person.
In Hebrews 12:14 we receive this advice, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
In just a few words, God shows us that He desires we live in peace with all men (even the difficult ones) so that through our peaceful actions, others can see His Light. When I read these words, I feel conviction. I think back to the person who has riled me or hurt me the most. Even though she claims to be my sister in Christ, her actions toward me and others denies the statement. So I ask myself, Have I shown her God’s love? Do I reach out peaceably so that she sees only Him in my actions? Shamefully, not always.
When dealing with my nemesis, I have a tendency to be defensive. Before she even opens her mouth, I am anticipating the slanderous things she will say. I have allowed my past disappointments with her to color my present. Instead of judging her, I need to wait patiently to hear what she has to say. I need to give her request the same credibility and response that I would give to anyone else.
Philippians 2:3-4 offers me this reminder, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
And finally, the absolute BEST guidance that the Bible gives is to live in this suggestion: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). On my own, I cannot forget the cruelty that my adversary has shown me. On my own, I cannot forgive the unjustified accusations she has made. On my own, I cannot move into a new relationship of compassion for this person. But living in this verse means that I completely give the situation to God. With His help, I can live peaceably and shine His light. With His help, I can forgive, forget, and move on!
What about you? How do you stop harboring past hurts or grievances against others? How do you let go and let God? What’s your best advice for dealing with difficult people?