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Dealing With Difficult People - Lifestyle Articles - Love Ambassadors Ministries


by Pastor Andrew Okwe

'Why is she downright so stubborn?' She asked with a furious facial countenance. She had tried in vain, to get her mother to understand that she is old enough for marriage. But unfortunately, her mum thinks otherwise. Have you ever encountered 'difficult' people in your life?

Such seems to be the ordeal of many people who believe that others have chosen to be difficult and not to be understanding. Most times difficult people are people that you can't wish away from your life - they are stuck with you, so to speak. More often than not, the most difficult people in our lives are members of our family, close relatives, friends, colleagues, or our boss at work.

To effectively handle difficult people, we should realize that serious consequences trail those who hastily launch out to confront them without wisdom. If we will be honest with ourselves, we all have made certain statements against difficult people in an attempt to handle them. This calls for serious caution, and application of wisdom.

So, how do you identify a real difficult person. First, don't exclude yourself. This should be a paradigm shift worth considering. When you realize that you may really be acting difficult to someone else, it helps you in relating better with those who are difficult to you. Also, apart from the possibility that one may be reaping a harvest of what he did to others, everybody is a difficult person to someone else. There is at least one person who considers you a difficult person. Even Jesus Christ was perceived as being difficult by the Pharisees, who resisted His ministry! But the great question is - Are you being 'difficult' for the right reasons.

Here are the characteristics of difficult people.

    Difficult people are needy people. Sometimes a difficult behaviour stems from a deep sense of need in a persons life. Therefore, sowing a seed of love is all it may take to win the person over and dry up the fuel of rebellion before it burns up your relationship with him. Love is a language even the deaf understands. Nothing conquers like love.

    Difficult people normally use the weaknesses of others to justify their actions. Understanding this should make you very careful in handling your relationship with a difficult person. A negatively difficult person is usually angry at something and desperately seeking an opportunity to prove his point and escape a guilty conscience. He constantly seeks for weaknesses in others to buttress his points. One unguarded utterance may be all he is waiting for! You must therefore live your life above board.

    Difficult people may be the victims of an unpleasant past experience. Difficult people are not necessarily bad people. A woman whose marriage failed may be against her daughter's early marriage. A man who failed in business may insist that his business-inclined children get a civil service job, and earn a pay check rather than venture into the 'risky' world of business. So, always check whether the people you don't agree with or rather that don't agree with you are victims of past experiences that have negatively affected their perspective towards that issue.

Alright! So how do we handle or deal with difficult people, taking into cognizance the sensitivity of such persons and the relationship in question?

DISCIPLINE: Discipline is the art of matching your beliefs with consistent action. Handling difficult people starts by dealing with yourself. Look introspectively and discover what it is that gives the person the leeway to act in a difficult manner towards you. Understand that nothing just happens; there must be a cause. Discipline is the price you pay to bring the vision of having fruitful relationships into reality.

Learn to live a disciplined life. Do you know that seemingly difficult people admire (and would later come to understand) someone who is a genuine 'disciple' of his convictions? They may not tell you, but their reasons for troubling you may be envy. Just make sure your motives are right and let your life of discipline speak for itself. Stand your ground!

DISCERNMENT: Through discernment, you will get to discover when somebody is being difficult because of the unfulfilled needs in his life, and when he is a victim of past experiences. Learn to correctly discern the issues involved and any other personal grievances of the 'difficult' person. Discernment helps you in seeing an opportunity to solve a problem and not a reason for revenge. Revenge is selfish and will only make matters worse. Decide to be the person that God will use to deflate the difficulty by showing genuine love and care, through the meeting of his needs. This also gives you access to his heart in understanding the root of the issues at hand and the platform for dialogue.

DIALOGUE: Sitting down to discuss the issues at stake (and not the personalities) is one of the steps in the right direction. Dialogue is your opportunity to understand the opposing views better and also clear the air on your views. You already understand your position, therefore be more concerned to understand the position of the other person. If the dialogue fails, try to initiate it again in the presence of a neutral third party. Do not consider a violent resolution to the matter.

DIPLOMACY: Avoid being chatty - the other person may be fishing for unguarded utterances. Be precise and accurate with what you say; say only what you mean and mean what you say. Discuss only the issues involved and not the dialogue. Don't be stampeded into making statements you may regret later. Have an aim not to 'win' but to understand. Otherwise the other person may sense the motive and may harden himself to protect his ego. Let your words be few - do more of listening. Also, be ready to apologize when necessary.

Finally ask the Lord to help you deal with those areas of your life people are attacking. Submit to Him and He will subdue your critics.

Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. 1st Peter 5: 5-6.

In conclusion, remember that God loved with you with an everlasting love even before you did right or wrong. He didn't disqualify you by considering your disposition as difficult because of His love. That same love has been poured out in your heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5: 5). Therefore in Christ Jesus, you have what it takes to love the most difficult of persons. Allow the love of God in you find expression.

It is God's will that you enjoy productive and cordial relations with everyone in your sphere of influence. Through the agency of His word He has given us the practical wisdom for relating with ourselves. Let the wisdom of God's word guide you, always.

You are blessed!