Who is the person that just irritates the living daylights out of you? Can you see their face? Is it me?
Regardless of who it is, we all have people in our lives that are hard to get along with. Sometimes, it feels like they go out of their way just to make life unpleasant for you.
Difficult people aren’t fun to deal with. In fact, some people are so miserable that their crazy spills out on anyone unfortunate enough to be in the splash zone. But my pastor said something good and true a couple weeks ago: We can’t control other people, but it’s always up to us how we respond to crazy.
So how do we respond well? When someone is so hard to get along with they must be doing it on purpose, how do we counteract their behavior and infuse godly peace into the situation?
Here’s what the Word says about dealing with our own personal Cottonheaded Ninnymuggins:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. -Romans 12:18
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. -Proverbs 15:1
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. -Luke 6:27-36
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. -1 Peter 3:9
Also, even though your unfriendly neighborhood Voldemort may not think they need any grace because they are perfect just the way they are; they do. They need God’s grace; just like we do, because we are all *a little bit* sinful. As those called to represent Christ here on earth, we get the lovely task of extending that grace instead of defending our own pride and hurt feelings. I know. I hated writing it.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32
If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. -Luke 6:32
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. -Matthew 5:44
I’m starting to sweat over here. If you can’t tell, I’m preaching to the choir. And my preferred method of dealing with crazy is Ninja Throwing Stars, but I can’t find that in Proverbs so I guess it’s off the table. One key thing to remember is that, thankfully, we are not asked to obey God’s commands in our own strength:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Phillipians 4:6-7
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26
When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. -Proverbs 16:7
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:12
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:23-26
There will always be hard people, because this world is chock full of sinners, including the one wearing your pants right now. But the same God who gave us our sense of justice will one day make all things right. We just have to hold on.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:17-21
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. -Psalm 37:1-4
With prayer, armed with the wisdom of the Scriptures, bolstered by the support and encouragement of godly friends, we can do hard things. Like not emptying a bottle of honey on our arch-nemesis’ windshield. Not that I’ve ever thought of doing that.
Love you guys. Well, most of you.