November 16, 2020
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NLT
Have you noticed that difficult people seem to be everywhere? The guy who seems to lose all composure if he doesn’t get on the freeway ramp fast enough. The woman who gets in the 6- only express line at the supermarket with 12 items, and the woman behind you who will not quit fussing about it. You know all of them, and they are annoying and difficult. But most of those people are out of your hair in a few minutes, and life can go on. Living at peace with them takes minimal effort for a short interaction.
What about the difficult people you see all the time? Maybe someone at work with constant digs at your faith. Maybe the co-worker who never gets their work done on time and you bear the brunt of it. Perhaps it’s even someone at church who is continually judging and harsh, or a family member who is always mad at the world and can’t be pleased.
So what do you do in these recurring situations? You don’t want to lose your sanity or your witness, and sometimes with very difficult people, both seem fragile. The obvious solution would seem to be to avoid that person. But sometimes that’s just not practical. It can’t happen without hurt and division. They’re family. You HAVE to work together. What then?
The simplest and most effective thing we can do is get a handle on our perspective. Not every situation is life and death. Not every situation can be neatly fixed, and sometimes you just need to grin and bear it or make the best of a hard situation. Paul said it this way to the Romans, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Obviously, this does not apply to situations where you or another person are facing physical danger or emotional abuse from a difficult person. In those cases, it’s paramount to get help from those who have a responsibility to help, even law enforcement, if you believe it is warranted.
But most of the time it’s annoying, not dangerous. The best idea is to keep your focus on the fact that you are bigger than this; this is just a moment you’ll get through. Ask Jesus to help you see them with His eyes of grace, and seek to “live peaceably.” As my husband used to say, “It won’t be an issue if I don’t make it an issue.” Most of the time that’s a really good decision. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said. A great side benefit, more often than you might think, is that eventually your kindness and cooperation just might win the difficult person over. That’s amazing grace.
- Pray: Jesus, help me be willing to not make issues of things that don’t need to be. Help me see the difficult person in my life through Your eyes.