Difficult coworker? Challenging neighbor? Formidable boss? Exhausting family member? Hurtful “friend”?
Relationships can be tough. God’s Word tells us to love others. To show grace. Extend mercy. But putting it into action can be difficult, if not impossible at times.
What can we do when it’s difficult to love others?
Pray for them. Yes, it may sound cliche, and sometimes we use the term flippantly. But prayer is powerful. God tells us to pray for our enemies, for those who are unkind, and for those we find most arduous to deal with. We’ve all found ourselves in a place where the last thing we want to do is pray for those who have hurt us or those who add a heavy dose of stress to our lives.
But prayer works. We can pray to see the difficult person how God sees them—through His eyes. And, if they don’t yet know Him, we can pray for their Salvation or spiritual progress.
Commit to praying for the unlovable person consistently for thirty days. And then another thirty days, knowing God hears your prayers.
Pray for wisdom in dealing with the person in a Christlike manner. In most cases, there is no way we can do this on our own. But we serve a gracious God who promises us wisdom when we ask for it.
Don’t seek out conflict with this individual. In other words, don’t cause strife.
On that note, sometimes even after attempting to handle an issue with a difficult person in a Biblical manner (Matthew 18:15-17), it is not resolved. In some cases, our best course of action is to keep our distance, to remain respectful when we see the person, but not to seek them out.
Forgive. If someone has wronged us, forgiveness can be the last thing we want to do. In many, if not most cases, forgiveness, especially if the conflict has been especially painful, can only be done with the help of the Holy Spirit. Seek His help to forgive.
Don’t seek revenge, however tempting it may be. God tells us in His Word to not take revenge (Romans 12:19) and not to repay evil with evil.
People aren’t easy to love. We are all sinful and all mistreat others at times. Dealing with relational conflicts can be grueling and stressful. But by leaning on our Lord Jesus Christ and seeking Him, He will provide the guidance we need to deal with the difficult people in our lives.
*Please note that if you are being abused in any way, please seek help immediately.
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