July 21, 2022 — Dealing with a Difficult Person

As I sat down across from Stan one morning, he said, “You look a bit down in the mouth. Something going on you want to talk about?”

“You’re right,” I replied. “Something’s going on that has me bothered. I spent some time last night with a friend.”

“Actually,” I said interrupting myself, “he’s not really a friend because he’s not friendly. In fact, there are times when he’s just about impossible to get along with!”

“How so?” Stan asked.

“He’s probably the most negative and contrary person I’ve ever met. He’s negative about everything.  If I say something like, ‘It’s a nice day,’ I need to be prepared to hear his perspective on why there’s nothing nice about it.”

“I knew a person like that once,” Stan replied, “If I said something positive about anything, he would come back with the guns of negativity blazing.”

“That’s it,” I said. “There are no good words that come out of this guy’s mouth. I used to think that maybe he just didn’t like me, but I have learned he’s that way with everyone who happens across his path.”

“And this fellow really bothers you?” Stan asked.

“Sure does,” I responded. “I try the best I can to be nice to him. I commit to allowing the Holy Spirit to be manifested in all of my dealings with him, but it is like he’s at war with me all of the time. He’s impossible!”

“Seems to me,” Stan replied, “that the apostle Paul addressed this very thing in his letter to the church in Rome.”

“Good,” I responded.  “What’d he say?”

“Looks to me like Paul said to do your best,” Stan replied. “Make your best efforts to be at peace with this fellow. If he doesn’t want peace with you, but would prefer war, so be it.”

Continuing, he added, “Do everything you can, but if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”

“Then what?” I asked.

“If he comes around with an olive branch of peace, that will be great,” Stan replied. “If he doesn’t, you will have done what is required and you can be at peace with God about it.”


Bible verses to consider:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18.

Be at peace with one another. Mark 9:50.

Pursue peace with all men. Hebrews 12:14.

But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . peace, . . . . Galatians 5:22.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, that I have peace with you through the finished work of the cross so that I know I will spend eternity in your presence when my time here is completed. Thank you, too, for the peace that comes from your indwelling Holy Spirit. I confess that too often I do not allow His peace to flow in and through me in all you have for me to be and to do while you keep me on this side of eternity. Please help me in following every step of your lead so that, as far as it depends on me and my attitude, I am at peace with every person you bring before me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Think on this: Do you have peace with God in the sense you know you will spend eternity in His presence when it’s time? If no, why? What’s in the way of accepting His free and gracious provision? If you are a Christian, how are you doing with being at peace with others on this side of eternity? Have you ever had a person in your life who you found to be difficult or impossible to deal with? If so, what was that all about and how did you handle it? If you sense the need for more of the peace of the Holy Spirit to be in and manifested through you, how will that happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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