Dealing with difficult people
As a Pastor’s wife, I have encountered all types of people. Those of different races, ages socioeconomic backgrounds, belief systems… you name it.
They all have different upbringings and have been exposed to different things in their lives that make them the people they are. As such, they respond to situations in different ways and treat me and my husband out of those learned and lived backgrounds.
Over our last five years married and 10 years together, my husband has pastored three different churches all with a unique flair and spirit. As his partner in this journey, I have tried to represent him and most importantly my Savior, in the best possible way and light. Now do I always get it right? No. But Lord knows I try to be pleasing unto Him.
And in that effort to be pleasing I know we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves.
It can be hard to show that agape or unconditional love or even that phileo ‑ brotherly love when someone mistreats you or someone you love.
I still remember the day Marcus came home and told me he’d been accused of stealing money from the church. Now that broke my heart and honestly moved me to tears.
My husband did not deserve that type of slander attached to his name. This man of God who would give the shirt of his back to someone in need, accused of such a horrendous act.
I knew that couldn’t be further from the truth and that somebody would fix their mouths to accuse him of such upset me to my core.
Nevertheless, as the Pastor’s wife and more importantly a believer, it was my duty to turn the other cheek and greet each parishioner with a smile and “Holy hug” each Sunday.
Now, this wasn’t an effort to be fake or phony. I stand by loving the sinner and hating the sin.
Romans 12:9-10 encourages us to “be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. (CEV)”
It’s through the love of Jesus Christ that I’m able to move forward and worship freely Sunday after Sunday.
People love to quote 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 at weddings but it is also how we should love our neighbor.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)
Practicing love ‑ self-love and love for your neighbor are among God’s greatest commandments. And our neighbor isn’t just our friends, family, or co-worker we don’t mind spending ample time with. It’s loving the unlovable, loving people who even despise you.
I try to see the good in everyone. I often give folks the benefit of the doubt, almost to a fault if you ask certain people. It’s an ability I know the Lord instilled in me. I don’t want to be a clanging cymbal like it says in 1 Corinthians 13:1. Like the physician Luke wrote, Luke 6:27, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. (NLT)
That’s my earnest plan and prayer.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Bible is also clear about confronting people when you have an issue
with them. I’m not perfect in this regard, but I am getting better about finding my voice in relationships. If I know that I am personally concerned about a relationship or I have misspoken or offended someone I do my best to confront that individual and apologize and make amends.
I pray for the discernment to know when I should release the situation into God’s hands or when I should continue to find resolution, but my actions are ultimately laced in love.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
What are some of the ways you’ve been able to deal with difficult people?
Let me know in the comments and let’s keep the discussion going.