The first step to dealing with difficult people: Choose to refuse to be offended or to take things personally. Then, show some grace.
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)
When you’re dealing with people who are offensive or irritating, you need to look past the behavior to the pain. Because everything we do is motivated by something. When people are hurting others, it’s because they’re hurting on the inside. Hurt people hurt people.
The more you understand about other people’s background, the more grace you’ll show them. Think of the people who you find the most difficult to deal with and who irritate you the most — you probably know nothing about their background. So you don’t cut them any slack. You don’t know that maybe they were molested. You don’t know that maybe they were orphaned. You don’t know that they’ve gone through three marriages and their husband walked out on them. You don’t know their story, so you’re not showing them any grace.
The Bible says in Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (NIV). With wisdom, you don’t get offended. Why? Because wisdom gives you patience. When you understand somebody’s background, you understand the stress that person is under — and it’s easier to show grace. That gives you patience to overlook the offense.
What I’m talking about here is real love. In fact, the Bible says refusing to be offended by other people is actually an act of mature love. It shows you how much love you’ve got in your heart. The more love you have in your heart, the harder it is to offend you on a personal basis.
The less love you have in your heart, the more insecure you feel and the easier it is to offend you. The Bible says in Proverbs 10:12, “Love overlooks the wrongs that others do” (CEV). The more I am filled with love, the less I’m going to be upset with you when you are demanding or demeaning or disapproving or whatever.
So this is the first step in dealing with difficult people: You must choose to refuse to be offended and take it personally.
Talk About It
- Who are the people you find the most difficult to deal with and who irritate you the most? How can you show them more grace?
- How can you grow in wisdom?
- Instead of getting offended, what can you do to learn more about someone’s background?
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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.