Summary: Dealing with Difficult people use scriptureFrom the time we were babies, we all have found ways in which to "get our way". Some are legitimate means of obtaining your objectives ... others are means whereby we manipulate people. These means of manipulatio


Eph 4:14-15 .... we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--

The first three characters we talked about were anger based:

The Sherman Tank, Gen 4:19 Lamech boasted, "I have killed a man for wounding me, even a young man for hurting me." If you are attacked by a Sherman Tank personality ... don’t wilt! Listen to them, then respond with something like, "That is interesting, I have a different point of view than you, but in my opinion ...." and tell him firmly and without anger how you feel. If he interrupts you, say, "Excuse me, you interrupted me." And then continue with your explanation.

The Sniper, 2 Sam 6:20 tells of the sarcasm of Michal, the wife of King David, as she sniped at him. The Sniper can be healed by God’s forgiveness, too! If possible, confront them in private. Let them know you felt as if they were digging at you with their comments, and ask them, "Did you mean it that way?" If they attempt to dismiss your question, let them know, "I distinctly heard a dig in the tone of your voice." If they persist in sniping at you in public, at that moment ask the others who hear them, "Do all of you agree with what was just said?’ This relieves you of being further involved and allows others in the group to confront the person instead.

The Land Mine is also angry. King Saul attempted to spear David on three occasions! They want you to walk softly around them, thereby creating an atmosphere of fear and frustration. Find a time in private where you can make good eye contact and say, "I want to hear what you have to say, but not in this way." Then get the facts straight and offer some practical help, if possible.

But not all difficult people are angry, some are fearful.

The first one of these I want to talk about is called The Waffler. John 18:28 has the story of Pilate as he waffled on making the right decision about the crucifixion of Jesus! A good leader needs to make decisions based on what is right ... what is true ... and what pleases God. When dealing with someone who always waffles you may need to help them make a decision by saying something like, "It might be better if you would ...."

The next difficult person to deal with is The Complainer. Our example is King Ahab when he wanted Naboth’s garden. A Complainer usually feels powerless in their personal lives ... they complain a lot about things but they aren’t willing to stand up and make any changes. When working with a complainer, listen to their complaint so they know you have heard them – but don’t agree with them! And don’t apologize for disagreeing with them. Instead, get them involved with finding a solution to their problems. If they want to talk it to death, don’t be afraid to say: "Look, Joe, I have some things I need to do. How do you think we can sum this all us?" After a moment of any further discussion, excuse yourself.

The next character is The Wet Blanket, they too are fearful people. The Ten Spies of Numbers 13 were wet blankets ... "we are not able ..." Wet Blankets are not happy people! Their fear causes them to feel that no one can be trusted, nothing will work out well, and surely disaster is just around the corner! Their negative words demands that something positive be ready in reply for every negative word they say. When dealing with the Wet Blanket personality, get them to define for you the absolute worst thing they think can happen ... BUT DON’T LET THEM DRAG YOU THERE! Then be ready to take positive action in spite of what they say.

The last three we want to examine are The Clam, The Bulldozer, and The Nice Guy. They each seem to be motivated differently.

The Clam reminds me of the parable of the unrighteous judge of Luke 18:2 .... "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ’Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ’Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ " NKJV

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