Dealing With Difficult People

“. . . we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure” (1 Corinthians 4:12).

People learn a lot about us by our actions, but they learn even more by our reactions. How do we respond when people abuse us, or take advantage of us? The Bible provides a clear blueprint for the Christian’s response to aggressive, sometimes hostile behavior.

Most people seek to defend themselves when attacked, or launch a counterattack. In fact, we expect that sort of response. But if we truly believe our security comes from God, why feel threatened by others?

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

Since we draw our security from God alone, we need not feel threatened by those who seek to run us over. In fact, plenty of Scriptures command us to not only endure abuse, but to bless those who seek to hurt us:

“For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (1 Peter 2:20).

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (Romans 12:14).

These responses have one thing in common: no one expects them. People expect us to fight back, insist on our rights, and set things right. When Christians do not react to every aggressive act aimed their way, they force the world to take notice. In our own life, we best respond to God when we dwell on His kindness toward us (see Romans 2:4). Likewise, people will take a second look at those who respond to hostile actions with kindness and patience.

Before you start your day, ask God for supernatural strength to radiate Christ all day long. When others bark at us or act aggressive, we do not need to respond in kind. Instead we need to display the love and gentleness of the Savior, who did not revile His own enemies who sought to destroy Him (1 Peter 2:23).

Prayer

Lord, kindly work Your grace in my heart so that I do not respond inappropriately to others. Grant me the fruit of the Spirit and please supply me with strength to treat others, not as they deserve, but as You would have me treat them. Lord, I cannot do this in my own strength, so please provide supernatural grace so that I may display Christ in all I do. Amen.


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