Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)
Has someone ever gotten under your skin to the point where you began obsessing over the situation? Day after day, you couldn’t get over what someone said or did to perturb you. Maybe the issue was so bad you decided that you were going to “get back” at that person for hurting your feelings. As a result, you let those hurt feelings take over your thoughts and now your mind is demanding you take action to even the score.
I recently had an experience like this at work, and because I see this person every day it made it that much harder for me to let the situation die down. Every time I would see them, thoughts of plotting my revenge against them would resurface – anyone else felt that before? I knew this kind of thinking was not right, but not matter how many times I tried to change my “stinking thinking” the urge to retaliate became stronger. Most times when someone makes me mad or hurts me, my natural desire is to reciprocate the pain that was inflicted on me. I want to find ways to hurt people back to make me feel better about our own pain. But (Psalm 37:8) warns us to refrain from anger because it will lead to evildoing (Psalm 37:8) – evildoing meaning sin. Once the sin has occurred, I have put myself in a posture to be out of God’s will. To avoid getting in this position there are a couple of things to consider when dealing with difficult people:
- Avoid listening to other people’s negativity. The first thing I usually do when someone has done something to me that I feel is wrong is talk about it to people who are going to be biased and take my side in the situation. I did this when my coworker upset me and hearing all the negative things about her fueled my fire. Titus 3:2 reminds us that we ought to “be peaceable and considerate and always gentle toward everyone”. However, instead of promoting peace I was encouraging the negativity. Try to remember this the next time you or someone close to you “eggs you on”.
- Avoid dwelling in the past and holding a grudge. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This incident with my co-worker happened on the Friday before the Labor Day holiday, so I had three whole days to let anger cultivate in my mind. One of the ways that helped me move on from harboring my anger was by literally asking, “Lord what can I do to get this off of my mind?” The first word that popped into my head was Love. Love, Really?! See, loving those who have hurt you can be one of the hardest commands to practice because deep down I didn’t want to show this person love. However, I was reminded that in all things we are to show love for everyone even those who hurt us (Luke 6:27).
- Avoid not praying over the situation. I knew that in order for me to move on it was going to take something powerful to change my heart. I also knew that power was not going to come from within me; I just didn’t have it. So after letting this whole ordeal fester for days, I found myself opening my bible to hear from God. I didn’t have a specific verse in mind so I read the “verse of the day” on my bible app, it was (Psalm 16:11). But, I didn’t stop at just that verse; I read the entire chapter all the way to chapter 18. I knew at that moment the Holy Spirit was speaking to me and calming my spirit. It was (Psalm 18:2) that resonated the most “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” I remembered that as long as I was covered by God that I was safe from harm. That I could turn to Him and place my fears on Him and He would bring me comfort.
Speaking those verses out loud brought me peace, I know longer wanted to hold a grudge, I lost the desire to “get back” at my co-worker and I rested on the truth knowing that the Lord will come to my rescue when I needed him. I’d like to hear from you, what do you do when dealing with difficult people?