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Dealing with a difficult person

I know God says to love and honour my parents, spouses, friends and loved ones. But I am struggling to deal with my family – especially my mother. She is gossipy and causes friction between my relatives and me. How can I deal with her?

It’s the easiest thing – to get wounded by or to wound – your family or friends. We often show our worst behaviour to our innermost circle, trusting them to forgive and forget always — which sadly is often impossible. People do not forget. Especially when the other person is still bothersome and does not want to change.

The first thing to do is to step away, take a deep breath, seek God and ask Him to help you. Recognise the enemy; your loved one is NOT your enemy here. It is satan. He ‘comes to steal kill and destroy’.

Your relationships are among your greatest treasures.

If God brings someone into your life, it is to mature YOU to learn to live with the person – not grouchily, but with His kind of grace, love and peace. You need God’s wisdom to deal with satan who plants weeds into your relationships.

Know that God cares about you, the other person and the situation. God really and truly knows each one of us: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7).

You are of great value to God, so feel free to ask Him to guide you. Know when to walk away for a few minutes. Especially if there is abuse of any kind. But know that God does not want us to walk away and STAY away. It takes hard work to polish and work on Christian relationships. There are instances when Jesus would contend with the Pharisees and times when Jesus exercised good sense by leaving the scene. But He loved them to the point of death, patiently teaching them what love is whenever He could.

Sometimes, when a difficult person wants to make a scene, the best thing you can do is to speak kindly, walk away politely, get on your knees in prayer, let things cool off, and then try harder later – to resolve the problems. Age, family, financial constraints and work stress are factors making many people grumpy today. Many marital conflicts can be dealt with when each person learns when to keep quiet and come back again and soon, in prayer, to solve their problems.

One of the saddest things in the world today is that church-going solid Christians keep and nurse their grudges. May be the other party has a fair explanation to give for themselves too. Matthew 5: 23 – 24 says, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. How many church services do we attend with hardness of heart towards a loved one? Deal with it TODAY. Don’t give satan another field day. Don’t let satan use your beautiful, God-created heart as his garbage bin.

You may be the person God has handpicked to bring some healing into the life of that person – the world may see the grumpy human being, but Christ died for her. Sit down with the person. Have a conversation. In fact many conversations – until you to learn how to engage.

In difficult situations, praying to know when, and how, to engage with others is essential. God doesn’t want to see conflict, especially among those call themselves His followers. God wants us to gently confront and in love resolve every matter: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) Let your words be seasoned with His love.

You will see results when you make persistent efforts in prayer. “It is God’s duty to change her. My duty is only to love her”. That should be your motto. Hard people are often just broken inside. Jesus will do the mending, you do the loving. May HIS love strengthen you to make amends from today!

We answer your questions about faith, marriage, relationships, parenting, emotional issues, financial crisis or any spiritual struggle here. Have a counselling query? Ask us here, via email: [email protected]

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