Summary: Good News for Dealing with Difficult People.
Dealing With Difficult People
Strategies From Genesis (And Beyond) (Part 2)
I want to begin this message by giving you some common contemporary types of difficult people you may encounter.
• The Bird Dog- Four legged bird dogs’ point to where the hunter should shoot. The two-legged Bird Dog likes to point out problems in people for others.
• The Critic- Is much like the bird dog. They constantly complain, criticize, and give unwanted advice. (The Israelites)
• The Wet Blanket- Pessimistic and automatically negative. "It’s no use trying." Their motto is, "Nothing ventured, nothing lost." (Ten Spies)
• The Salesman- Just the opposite of the wet blanket, because they are enthusiastic. Always have something to sell to people in the church.
• The Steam Roller- They run over people and their feelings. They are always right no matter what the topic.
• The Fickle Financier- This person uses money to register approval or disapproval of church decisions. Sometimes he protests silently by merely withholding his offerings.
• Busybody- Gossip- They spread rumors and leak secrets, but its usually under spiritual wraps like prayer requests. They enjoy telling others how to do their jobs.
• The Sniper They avoid face-to-face conflicts, but pick off church leaders with pot shots in private conversations. "Pray for our pastor, he is having problems."
• The Bookkeeper- They keep a written record of everything the pastor and others do that isn’t in the spirit of Christ.
• The Merchant of Muck- They breed dissatisfaction by attracting others who know they are more than willing to listen to, and elaborate on, things that are wrong with the church. Absalom
• The Back stabber- They are two-faced in every way. (Psalms 109) (Balaam)
• The Cold Shoulder They use avoidance to get their message across.
• The Volcano-Is a hot-tempered person just waiting to erupt. (Proverbs)
• The Competitor Always trying to prove they are better than others. Leah & Rachel
• The Sponge- Constantly in need, but give nothing back. Dependant people. They will drain you, and ask for more.
• The People Pleaser- They are eager to please, and they avoid conflict. They agree with everything, but stand for nothing.
Now that we have seen some common types of difficult behavior in people around us in the church, the workplace, and the home, let’s look at some ways to respond to them. We will continue to look at some biblical models of correct ways to respond to difficult people.
I RECONCILIATION (Joseph) Genesis 37,39-46
In Jacob’s family it will be hard to distinguish who is the difficult person, because all of them seem to contribute difficult behavior to the family circle. You would think Jacob would have learned from his family of origin not to play favorites, but he fell into the same dysfunctional behavior his parents had. Jacob blatantly favored Joseph over all of his brothers and sisters, because he was the baby of the family. However, he was also favored because he was the son of his favorite wife. This passage teaches us that difficult people can be created by mistreatment. The New Testament verifies this by warning fathers not
to provoke their children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4). Jacob’s favoritism provoked his other sons to anger against Joseph and against himself. Joseph also contributed to the situation by proudly telling the family about his self promoting dreams in chapter thirty-seven. He told them they would all one day bow down to him, and his brothers hated him for it. The hated him enough to kill him, but one brother in a twinge of conscience suggested they sell him as
a slave. The brothers then got even with their father by telling him Joseph got killed by a wild animal. These are some very difficult people, but they are all family. If you didn’t know the end of this story, you couldn’t have guessed it would have a good ending.
Nearly fifteen years had passed and Joseph had risen to the throne of Egypt under Pharaoh. This should help us see how God may use the difficult people in our lives for our benefit. Here God used the difficult behavior of Joseph’s brothers to get him to Egypt to save the whole family from the coming famine. So don’t get so upset at the difficult people
in your life, because God may be using them to help you and they don’t even know it. Through divine providence his brothers come down to Egypt to get food when the famine struck. Joseph had already forgiven his brothers some time before they came to Egypt, and he wanted to reconcile with them. The key to all the good that happened hinged on Joseph’s
choice to forgive and seek to reconcile his relationship to his brothers.