I love the Bible because I can find rich treasures in the form of answers I need for just about every issue in my life. One of them is how to deal with difficult people. Sometimes certain individuals seem to toss stumbling blocks my way at every turn, testing every ounce of patience I have.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Uh, oh. God forgave me for a lot of stuff when I asked Him to be my Savior and still does on a daily basis. Doesn’t that problem-person deserve the same? The Lord doesn’t favor anyone over another. He expects us to treat others like we want to be treated.
Okay, so I chose to avoid anger or unkind words toward that other person. I forgave just as Jesus forgave me. But something was wrong. The Holy Spirit looked down into my soul, probing deeply. I discovered I’d exchanged unforgiveness for complacency and distance. Though I no longer held malice against that person, I merely ignored them.
1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter. Verse 13 says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Guess what! I’d forgiven but hadn’t chosen to love. That was a lot harder than forgiving.
God was able to reveal the true motives of my heart. How was I to love that difficult person? I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Soon, that person I thought I couldn’t abide became a friend. Thank you, Lord, for Your Word and the power to live according to Your will.