“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9…)
When considering difficult people, we must be careful to distinguish between truly dangerous people (who wish to destroy us) and those who are merely “different.” Culturally speaking, I have been called a godsend in some places and a nuisance in others. If we are honest, cultural differences can sometimes be deemed “difficulties.” But what does the Bible teach us?
Sometimes the only thing that makes a person difficult to us is the way we perceive them. If someone does not carry themselves in a way that pleases us, we may immediately dislike them. This may cause division and blindness toward their gift and purpose in God.
The Bible says we must esteem one another as better than ourselves. Humility will help us have patience. (Read Ephesians 2:1-8.) Pride can become a wedge between believers. Demanding that others conform will stifle the beautiful diversity of gifts and abilities. Everyone comes to the table with something different to offer. We need wisdom in dealing with souls; we are, after all, fishers of men.
First Corinthians 13 speaks of love. It also says we must believe all things and hope all things. Every commentary I’ve read said that means to believe the best about people. It doesn’t mean we ignore their sins. It means we have faith the same God who started a good work in us is at work in their lives as well.
The Bible teaches God looks on the heart, while man only sees the outside. Many people have been hurt by those who claimed to be able to discern what’s wrong with other people. I’ve done this too. Discernment was given to judge between false teachers and God’s teachers. We can only judge the fruit. I’ve observed people who were considered difficult in one setting flourish and thrive elsewhere. People miss our growth and blessings when they only want those who are like them around.
Laban was a truly difficult person with evil intentions. A great man of God hit the nail on the head when he said, “The greatest lesson of Laban is don’t be that guy.” Rather than trying to control the Labans around us, we must be sure to not be him.
The three Hebrew boys and Daniel didn’t try to overthrow the oppressive government they served. They didn’t protest or rise against them. They just kept on being godly.
Lastly, Jesus didn’t gossip about Judas to the other disciples. He didn’t laugh at him behind his back. Jesus (like most pastors I know) kissed his Judas. Loved his Judas. He even covered his Judas.
Don’t worry about exposing everyone who does you wrong. There is purpose in the pain. Faithfully and patiently walk through each season, bearing one another’s burdens. Try not to make a habit of judging everyone else, but look to God and seek after wisdom in changing yourself. Once you make it through to the other side, the seemingly difficult ones will separate themselves from the wolves. And they will come under your influence willingly. Keep Christ at the center of all you do, and God will build you up in Him.
Love without agenda. Love without seeing people as a means to an end, then see how your perspective of them changes.
Crystin Latta, is wife to Darius Latta and mama to Kaiya and Cady. Crystin and her husband are both licensed ministers with the UPCI and her husband is also a sailor in the US Navy.
Information from: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries – firstname.lastname@example.org)