It’s no secret that people can be difficult. Now more than ever, the world is divided in so many different ways. Whether it’s about politics, religion, or just personal preference, people are seemingly finding every reason they can to be difficult with one another and oppose each other. How can we as Christians live amidst such turmoil? How can we learn to deal with difficult people biblically?
If one thing is true, it’s that we shouldn’t follow our instincts. I don’t know about you, but when I encounter difficult people, I tend to want to discard them and ignore them. Yet that isn’t what we’re called to do. Instead, we’re called to love them. Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-45, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Clearly Jesus wants us to love everyone, even those who are difficult and oppose us, but doesn’t this seem like an impossible task? Especially in the moment, it is really difficult to love those who are being difficult. The solution is in the fact that we cannot do this on our own. We need God’s help. Jesus loved those who opposed Him and who made His life difficult. We can do the same through His power that can come from our relationship with Him.
One of the keys to dealing with difficult people in a biblical way is to remember that you can also be difficult. The key to giving grace is to remember how in need of grace you yourself are. Take some time to consider how you would want to be treated when you are being difficult. Would you want someone to completely ignore you or be rude to you? Or would you want someone to treat you with grace and love? Don’t forget Jesus’ commandment in Luke 6:31. He said, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” Remember this when dealing with difficult people.
Lastly, it might be helpful to try and have a genuine conversation with people who are being difficult in your life. Many people are that way for various reasons that are hidden behind the scenes. If you approach someone who is being difficult with love and grace and try to just connect with them, you may find out that everything is not as it seems. As people, we are professionals at hiding the real reasons behind things. Next time someone is being difficult, make an effort to get to know them and their situation. You may have more sympathy for them than you might think.