Summary: Christ had to deal with difficult people in His own inner circle. How did He deal with them? And how does He deal with us?

Dealing With Idiots and Other Difficult People

Romans 12.18

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

INTRODUCTION. Do you have some difficult people in your world?

A. I’ll bet you have some difficult people in your life too. A ...

1. SHERMAN TANK for a boss who finds every oppor. to run over you.

2. SNIPER of a relative who finds every oppor. to gun you down.

3.SABOTEUR of a cowork who lays mines in your path.

B. You’ve got Sadists, Squelchers, Snitchers, Screw Ups, Stubborn Mules, Sqawkers, SuperSensitive, Stiff Necks, Showoffs and Skeptics ...

1.. We can hide from them, ignore them, scream at them, fight them or we can deal with them.

2. I’m proposing that we deal with them because Proverbs 27.17 tells us "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Iron on iron talks of abrasiveness, like fingernails on a blackboard.

3.. It could be that providence (ie, GOD) has put these people in our life to sharpen us.

C. After all, Christ had his difficult people to deal with. And he, our Great Example, has modeled how to use them them to perfect us.

I. For example, There was THE IDIOT. The guy who just didn’t get it.

A. Actually, to a lesser extent, all of the disciples fell into this category. After his Resurrection, when the men came running to the tomb, the Risen Christ confronted them and said (Luke 24.25 Then Jesus said to them, "You are such foolish people! You find it so hard to believe ... "

1. But one stands out THOMAS.

2. Thomas, who has earned the uncwelcomed nickname "Doubting" Thomas. He is characterized by indecision, apprehension, suspicion, misgivings, pessimism and hesitation. He’s the guy who wants proof for everything.

B. Thomas had to see it to believe it and he preferred to look at the dark side of things.

1. When Jesus’ decided to return to Bethany because Lazarus was ill, Thomas, in exasperation, knowing that to return to the vicinity of Jerusalem was dangerous, threw up his hands and said "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

2. After the Resurr., Thomas was too depressed to even join the disciples in Jerusalem. He was prob. moping somewhere. When Christ appeared, he was absent and when they told him about it, he refused to believe."So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’" (John 20.25)

C. Thomas was a skeptic, not to mention a wet-blanket, and the way Christ handled it was a lesson to me.

1. Personally, I just avoid nay-sayers. But Christ handled it diplomatically and gently. A week later he appeared again and invited Thomas to investigate the proof. The scars of His great sacrifice for the doubter eliciting from Thomas one of the great confessions of the Bible.

2. I have been like Thomas myself ...

II. There was another difficult person in Jesus’ inner circle, actually two. They were HOTHEADS. A pair of belligerant and ambitious brothers. SELF-SEEKING KINGDOM BUILDERS, RULE-BENDERS and PRIMA DONNAS.

A. You probably work with people like this. These guys are not team players. They are only out for number one.

B. Jesus had to deal with them daily. JAMES & JOHN.

1. Remember, they wanted to call fire from heaven on a town that had boycotted them.

Luke 9.53-55 "but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them.?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them..."

2. These guys were volatile, explosive, unsteady, hot tempered. No wondered Jesus called them Boanerges, "Sons of Thunder."

C. And they were ambitious (not to mention, brazen) .....

Mark 10.35-37. Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

1. That is pretty arrogant. It’s full of false-pride and self-seeking.

2. We all have a little bit of that in us.

D. So how did Jesus handle these two wild and crazy guys?

1. He dealt with them gentle but firmly by confronting them. Jesus turned and rebuked them ...

Mark 1038"You don’t know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" 39"We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared."

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