Keys To Handling Difficult People

. .

There’s no doubt that from time to time we’ll have to deal with difficult people.

There’s no need for us to identify them. . .you know who they are.

Number One: get rid of your difficult attitude. . .first.

“Yes, but Brother Harold, it’s not my attitude that’s the problem. . .it’s them.”

The object of your attention may have the worst attitude of anybody you’ve ever meet BUT you can’t move anyone else until you move yourself. It’s just the way God works (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-16)

You must get rid of any vindictiveness or offense. . .that’s occupying space in your mental hard drive.

You’ll never be able to break through the wall surrounding difficult people as long as you have the wrong kind of attitude.

What kind of attitude should you have?

Philippians 2:5 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility].”

You need to forgive difficult people before you feel like it. Why? Because that’s what the Word says:

Matthew 5:44 in the Amplified Bible says:

“But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

I really love the Message Bible translation of Matthew 5:44-45 which says:

“When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.”

The first step to dealing with difficult people is to deal with the one closest to you.   Meaning. . .you.

Second, bless ’em and don’t curse ’em.

When dealing with a difficult person don’t allow them to get your goat or make you angry or upset to the point where you say something you might later regret, take a deep breath and count slowly to ten. If you’re still upset count to ten in Spanish. If you don’t know Spanish. . .look up how to do it before you speak. . .that will help with the cool down process.

Still need a little more help. Quote Romans 12:14 in the Amplified Bible which says:

“Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them].”

It is very easy to bless those who bless you and make you happy, but how are you going to respond to people who persecute you and try to deliberately injure you? Romans 12:14 says that you are to “bless them which persecute you.…”

Nevertheless, rather than give in to my flesh and start ranting and raving about what they’ve done or are doing. . .make every effort to follow the instructions in this powerful verse.

According to Strong’s Concordance. . .“bless” is the Greek word G2127 which comes from two root words G2095 and G3056.

G2095 means good or well and depicts any positive emotion. It is where we get the word euphoric.

The second root word is G3056 which means to say good or positive things. When these two root words are combined it means to say good or positive things.

So when Paul tells us to “bless them which persecute you…,” he is literally telling us that we are always to return a blessing for a curse, speaking only good words about those who wish to harm us.

Your flesh may not like this approach. . .just simply tell it to SHUT UP. When we bless difficult people we move from defending ourselves to blessing those who are persecuting us.

Third, being argumentative brings you down to their level.

There are people who enjoy arguing with everyone about everything even though they know next to nothing about anything.

For whatever psychological reason. . .some people would rather argue than eat. But that’s what the Word of God says we’re not to do.

2 Timothy 2:23-24 in the Amplified Bible says:

“But refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strife and breed quarrels.

24 And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong.”

I also like 2 Timothy 2:24 in The Living Bible which says:

“God’s people must not be quarrelsome; they must be gentle, patient teachers of those who are wrong.”

Fourth, you control the battlefield.

When possible pick your battlefield. . .actually, let’s call it a situation room. That sounds better.

If you have to deal with a difficult co-worker. . .go to their office when possible. They will feel more relaxed. . .than being on your turf. This will allow you to have some sway in the conversation. . .plus it allows you to get up and walk out if the conversation doesn’t progress positively. It would be more difficult to walk out of your own office.

If the conversation is going the way you want. . .don’t hesitate to excuse yourself with a good excuse. Apologize for having to leave but promises you’ll be back as soon as you can. You can even set a specific timetable.

By the way, offer a genuine compliment on something in their office. Make it real. Perhaps even ask them a question about something you see. People are always more relaxed when they’re talking about themselves.

Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People once said:

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”

1 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says:

“And never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another’s well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection].”

Fifth, a merry heart.

When in a difficult situation. . .always look for the humor.

My ability to have fun. . .is not determined by the day of the week. . .or even whom I’m around.

I look for the humor in every situation because the scripture says in Proverbs 17:22 which says:

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

The Contemporary English Version of Proverbs 17:22 says:

“If you are cheerful, you feel good; if you are sad, you hurt all over.”

Let’s see. . .if you’re merry, cheerful and happy. . .then you’re having fun in whatever you’re doing. . .even dealing with difficult people.

If the difficult person you’re dealing with is not having fun. . .chances are they’re sad, hurting and perhaps with a broken spirit.

Don’t overdo it but never let anyone else. . .no matter how difficult steal your joy or ability to see the humor in any situation.

Sixth, change the focus.

Difficult people like to lead the conversations. In healthy conversations the two people take turns leading and following.

Sometimes difficult people like to keep harping on what’s wrong and why nothing seems to be working out for them.

If you keep going round and round. . .you can say “By the way. . .” and initiate a new subject thus setting a more positive tone for your conversation.

You might even say “thank you for sharing what the problem is. . .now let’s talk about how to solve it. What’s your ideas?”

Proverbs 15:1 in the Amplified Bible says:

“A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.”

One more verse. 2 Timothy 2:24 in the Amplified Bible says:

“The servant of the Lord must not participate in quarrels, but must be kind to everyone [even-tempered, preserving peace, and he must be], skilled in teaching, patient and tolerant when wronged.”

Seventh, flip the downside but focus on the upside.

How do you turn the tables on difficult people?

Matthew 5:44-45 in the Message Bible says:

“I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.”

First, love your enemies. It’s easy to love people who love you but the real measure of your love is when it’s given to someone who doesn’t respond in a positive manner.

The verse doesn’t say. . .love those who love you. It says. . .love your enemies.

Second, difficult people will bring the best out in you when you respond the way Jesus would have responded.

You will answer with a kind word instead of a sharp tongue. You will see the upside of every situation.

Proverbs 15:1 in the Amplified Bible says:

“A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath, But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.”

Third, not the worst.

Always make a determined effort to bring out the best in someone and certainly, not the worst.

Fourth, when someone gives you a hard time.

It’s not a question of if. . .but when. . .someone will give you a hard time. . .whether you deserve it for a bad decision or not.

Difficult people force the fruit of the spirit into operation in our lives.

Fifth, respond with prayer.

The scripture tells us to pray for those who persecute us. When we pray for difficult people we are exchanging our problem solving abilities for Gods.

Sixth, you’re making it happen.

When the Word is continually applied. . .difficult people become play dough in the Master’s Hand.

A scriptural approach to difficult people. . .always wins.