Summary: Exposistion of Romans 12:14-21 focusing on the 10 godly responses to difficult people.
¡§Dealing with Difficult People¡¨
Think and live wisely regarding difficult people 14-21
Living in this world presents us with a perpetual parade of people problems. How do we deal with irritating, annoying and down right evil people? What is the godly response to people who hurt us and offend us? How does a renewed mind and a transformed life approach with such relational turbulence? Since the fall there has been relational struggles among people. Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel. Lamech. Gen 4:23-24
Everything gets better when you become a Christian right?
You have heard me quote this little limerick before.
To dwell above with the saints we love, that will be glory.
But to live below with the saints we know, now that¡¦s a different story.
We live in a culture of broken relationships. Mainly because we no longer know what it means to live by the power of the Spirit. We spend most of our time living by the energy of the flesh. Paul clearly detailed the results of a fleshly life.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Notice that most of these have to do with relational turbulence and even meltdown?
Jesus warned that the life of Christian down here would not be Eden or even easy.
"Remember the word that I said to you, ’A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. John 15:20
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12
"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Paul echoed the same truth.
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Tim. 3:12
David lamented about betrayal and mistreatment often in the Psalms (35:12-16)
So how do we respond to such treatment? There are many passages which point the godly path through this dark storm.
"You have heard that it was said, ’YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
How does a beloved son of God, a saint, a gifted ambassador respond to difficult people. Paul draws the Roman believers a fairly complete picture that runs somewhat (Ok a whole lot) contrary to how we might naturally respond in the flesh to difficult people. A majority of Christians don¡¦t respond anywhere near what we will find here in the face of relational garbage. The quick gut or flesh reaction to encounters with difficult people is as follows¡K
ƒÀSpeak evil of them.
ƒÀRejoice at their suffering, resent their success.
ƒÀIgnore and avoid them if at all possible
ƒÀConvince yourself how much better you are than they are.
ƒÀDo to them as they do to you (return evil for evil)
ƒÀInstigate things that you know bother and irritate them
ƒÀMake no effort to make peace - wait for them to come to you
ƒÀFigure out some way to avenge yourself ignoring any glaring needs in their life
ƒÀAllow the thoughts of their evil actions consume you and eventually conquer you.
The rest of our time together I want to explore what a Spirit-directed response looks like when dealing with difficult people. There is no guarantee that responding this way will result in restoring relationships but it will keep your focus on God and produce inner peace and freedom. It may be the key that wins someone to Christ. According to Peter it will be cause for unbelievers giving glory to God at Christ¡¦s coming when they finally realize the truth.