Some people are just so difficult to get along with.
There’s Negative Nelly, who always complains and expects the worst. She can never seem to be happy about anything.
There’s Confrontational Collette, who likes to point out every one else’s flaws. She loves a good argument and often picks a fight.
There’s Drama Queen Doreen, who makes a big deal over everything. She always has a problem (which are always bigger than yours) and she must tell you every detail.
There’s Sensitive Sally, who wears her feelings on her shoulders so you have to tiptoe when you’re near her. She wants everyone to get along and is easily offended no matter what you do.
There’s Lazy Lizzie, who is always too tired or busy to do anything important or helpful. She never lifts a finger unless she has to and she certainly doesn’t go above and beyond.
Difficult people annoy us and complicate life.
They steal our joy and ruin our day. They’re like fingernails on a chalkboard, and they’re everywhere! They attend church with us, stealing our favorite seat or constantly drawing attention to themselves. They work in the same office, where they sing too loudly to the radio or laugh with an annoying snort. They like to cut in front of us on the road and in the grocery store. They live next to us and let their pets go to the bathroom on our lawn. They make us so crazy we just want to throw something!
So why does God allow difficult people in our lives?
Why doesn’t He make them change or send them to torment someone else? Because He wants to teach us to be more like Him. I heard a preacher say once that God uses difficult people like sandpaper to smooth our rough edges.
1) Difficult people teach us to be patient. We have to learn to hold our temper and speak with a soft answer. (Proverbs 15:1)
2) Difficult people teach us to be loving. We have to learn to apply grace and accept them as they are. (Romans 15:7)
3) Difficult people teach us to promote peace. We have to learn to avoid confrontation and respond with humility and gentleness. (Ephesians 4:2)
The Bible doesn’t tell us we have to like everyone. But we are commanded to love others (Mark 12:31)and value them (Philippians 2:3) – and that includes difficult people. While our human nature urges us to avoid them or confront them, God wants us to learn to get along.
So the next time you encounter difficult people, consider how God would have you respond.
(This post first appeared on MomsOfFaith.com)