By Allen White
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Live at peace with everyone – as far as it depends on you. For some people, we might wonder “How far do we need to be away from some people? A thousand miles?”
No one wants to embrace difficult people. They’re just so…difficult. We all have them. God has puts difficult people in our lives for us to learn to love. God has also put them there to do a little work on us. Now, if you’re thinking, “I don’t really have any difficult people in my life.” Well, guess what? It’s probably you!
When we encounter difficult people, the temptation is for us to be difficult in return. While we might feel justified by the situation, we can easily see that this will lead to no place good. Think about this: what if the people who bring out the worst in us are God’s tools for refining our character. Our problems and problem people are our teachers. Our impulse is that often we want to skip school.
If you’re still reading, you understand that these are not popular thoughts. Our prayers for difficult people, typically, are either that God would change them or remove them. Be honest. It’s true. But, our goal is not to be comfortable. God’s job is not to insulate us from the problems of the world. Jesus predicted trouble (John 16:33). Jesus’ life involved many difficult people: Judas, Herod, Pharisees, Sadducees, and the High Priest to name a few. He had some pretty despicable and powerful enemies. Jesus’ heart was always toward reconciliation.
Who is the difficult person who stands out in your life right now? What thoughts, attitudes and actions does this relationship evoke in you? You are being squeezed. What’s coming out? Rather than focusing on the difficulty of the difficult person, ask God how He plans to use this circumstance to refine your character.
If your difficult person is abusive or is threatening your safety, do not stay in that situation. Contact your church or a safe friend. Get help. Get out. Then, work from there.
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