God’s Difficult People

November 20, 2020

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1

Have you ever thought about God’s difficult people? He has them by the score, and all of us have been one of them at one time or another. We don’t listen, we interrupt His plans, we ignore Him except when we think we need Him. We run things our own way and blame Him for things we did in our own rebellion. You could add to the list, I’m sure. 

How does God respond to difficult people? Isaiah the prophet spoke the words of God in the book of Isaiah. God doesn’t want to end the relationship with difficult people. Isaiah quotes God, inviting those who are being “difficult” to engage with Him. He gives them an opportunity to have a new start in the relationship. “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord (Isaiah 1:18). Although God has the right to cut them off, to carry out judgment on them for their behavior, to declare them gone from Him forever, He does not. He initiates peace talks, even though He has done nothing wrong. He holds out an olive branch and says, “Let’s talk about it.” 

We’ve already said that there are some situations when the wise thing to do is to walk away and let the person have their space. But we also need to make certain that we have given God a chance to work through our humble approach. In difficult circumstances, such as those in a prolonged situation with a difficult person, praying to know when and how to engage is essential. God doesn’t want to see unresolved conflict, especially among those who identify as His followers. 

God wants to give us wisdom to invite engagement, and then address and face every matter. He can give us the strength and ability to be strong and gentle as we do. Who knows? We might even see a difficult person turn out to be willing to talk and become peaceable themselves. Soft answers and gentle attitudes, in God’s timing, can work wonders.

  • Think about your difficult people. Talk to God. Ask God if it is time to invite them to engage.
  • Keeping your manner soft and approachable is essential. Ask for God’s help.
  • Perhaps you are someone’s difficult person. How can you become more soft, gentle, and approachable?