Monday, April 7

Difficult People {How to Deal}

I change seats three times at the coffee shop before settling down to work because my favorite spot in the corner is taken. I'm used to this game because everyone else knows it's the best spot too.

I creep closer to the good spot as the seat next door becomes available. But also because I don't want to sit near creepy guy. But that's just me. I'm the awkward girl who can't sit next to a man I don't know for fear they are in fact a creep. I know. Aaaand I said creep three times in a single paragraph. Wait, make that four.

I settle into my delightful spot at the counter that has finally opened up, put my headphones on and play a Christmas song on repeat. In April. The other day I discovered that playing Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix on repeat turns me into a writing machine. The words just pour out of me as I try to remember that the whole coffee shop really doesn't want to hear me sing accapella on repeat. So I refrain from singing along and go with it because I need all the help I can get.

It's finally time to quit stalling and do the work. But who really wants to talk about difficult people? Definitely not me.

I'm not good at dealing with difficult people.

They infuriate me.

They say and do things that just plain hurt.

They're confusing and I mostly try to avoid them.

And usually I think they should just knock it off.
Don't they know how awful they're being and how miserable they're making us? It just. doesn't. compute.

Then I remember compassion. Oh, yes that. And love.
And also their past. That matters too.

Sometimes when we hear the words compassion and love thrown in with the topic of difficult people, we're tempted to think of doormats and push-overs. Two things we don't want to be. So how should we do this?

I know of no other source more suited than the Bible to help us out here. Paul, in his letter to the church at Colossae gives us these words:
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

So, from the looks of it, we're to put on, or act with

Even when they're being a jerk.

And also
and love (most of all)

We're to
let Christ's peace not be crowded out
and be thankful

Read God's word
letting it simmer and dwell within us

Teach each other in wisdom
praise Him with thankfulness

Do everything for Him
and again, be thankful

Sometimes love means boundaries. That's super hard, but often necessary.
And sometimes you can forgive and the relationship isn't restored. That's still okay.

A restored relationship may not be possible right now if it's abusive or unhealthy. We're called to forgive and love, which will restore our hearts. The act of forgiving another person isn't saying you approve of what they've done. No, it's much different than that. Forgiveness releases your heart and mind from dwelling on and being held captive by their actions any longer. It doesn't mean you're accepting what they did to you as okay, it simply means you're going to be okay with them not taking up residence in your mind any longer as you move forward. You're going to clear the counter off. So to speak.

I may not be good at dealing with difficult people. But I can be good at love because Christ is good at loving me.

They may infuriate me, but I can be compassionate because Christ has been endlessly compassionate with me.

My job isn’t to fix the difficult people in my life or enable them to continue their destructive behaviors. My job is to be obedient to God in the way I act and respond to them.

This will forever be a work in progress in our lives. But there's no better day than today to start making some progress.
This post is linked up with Holley Gerth and company over HERE!
2 comments on "Difficult People {How to Deal}"
  1. Oh Amanda. Good word for today. I really appreciated this as I struggle with wanting loving relationships with my family (for 22 years now). However, you can't demand love from those who can't give it. I am now reconciling just living my life without them taking residence in my heart and mind. It's hard to do! Here is what I really took to heart,

    "Forgiveness releases your heart and mind from dwelling on and being held captive by their actions any longer. It doesn't mean you're accepting what they did to you as okay, it simply means you're going to be okay with them not taking up residence in your mind any longer as you move forward."

  2. Hi Amanda,
    This is a great post for me to read. I have a couple difficult people in my life right now. One of them is even more difficult than the other, and he's age 7. I too need to forgive and love him just as Jesus has done with me. We may not be best friends forever, but I owe him my forgiveness and love. Thank you for posting this. It has done me a world of good. I realize I cannot fix this little boy, nor take back what he said to me, but I can have compassion on him.
    In Christ,


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