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Summary: The more we identify with Christ and His ministries the more we will share in His empowerment, purposes, and processes.

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How to Deal With Difficult People

Romans 12:18-12:21

Many people struggle to overcome the temptation to take vengeance into their own hands. However, Paul once wrote, "As far as it is possible, be at peace with all men. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:19-21)

Illustration: Someone has said, "The more I get to know the human race, the more I love my dog." Dogs are loyal, dependable, eager to please, and quick to forgive and forget. Don’t you wish people were more like that? But sometimes no matter how hard we try to have a good relationship with someone, it doesn’t work.

The apostle Paul addressed that situation in Romans 12:18. Notice the phrase "as much as depends on you." He knew that some people problems may never be resolved. It takes two to quarrel; it takes two to reconcile. If you do your part and the problem remains, there is still a plan to follow. Don’t harbor resentment or retaliate with the weapon of silence. Work at overcoming evil with good (v.21), and let God work out the problem. (M.R. DeHaan, Our Daily Bread)

How To Handle People Problems (Romans 12)

Be affectionate (v.10). Be prayerfully patient (v.12).

Bless your persecutors (v.14). Be humble (v.16).

Don’t take revenge (v.19). Overcome evil with good (v.21).

It takes the grace of God to apply this truth in all areas of our life. When we have been cheated, abused, or falsely accused it is our natural tendency to try to return evil for evil. Consider Jesus Christ’s response to mistreatment. "When they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly." (I Pet. 2:23) Let us understand the proper ways to identify with Christ when we are unjustly treated.

1. Do not be surprised that you are called to suffer indignities, abuses, or mistreatments for Jesus’ sake. All of life is not fair. "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But, rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory rests upon you." (I Pet. 4:12-14) The more we identify with Christ and His ministries the more we will share in His empowerment, purposes, and processes.

Illustration:

Years ago a man who didn’t like having smoke blown in his face developed a way for nonsmokers to fight back. He called his product "Revenge." It was a foul-smelling disinfectant that came in a pocket-size spray can. The spray gave cigarette smokers a dose of their own medicine--bad air.

Many resented the idea. Some got a laugh out of it. Still others purchased some of the stuff. Its manufacturers were capitalizing on the feeling that I’m sure all of us have experienced: If we don’t counter insult for insult, we’ll get stepped on.


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