Difficult People Exist
Think of 5 difficult people in your life.
Now take a second and question…
What are some of the characteristics that make them difficult? What is your normal response? Do you think your response is biblical?
The truth, whether we like it or not, is that difficult people exist. Why? Because we live in a fallen and broken world, full of fallen and broken people (Rom. 5:12). People are looking to idols to satisfy their longings. They are starving for acceptance, approval, and satisfaction.
Everyone is Difficult
We become difficult when we do not find our acceptance, approval and satisfaction in Jesus. We look for it in other ways and we will use or crush people to get what we want.
So what does this mean? You guessed it, everyone is difficult. And by everyone I mean… everyone. You, me, your pastor, your BFF, and even your favorite barista. Everyone. Because of the sinful state of our flesh, we automatically run to idols instead of Jesus (Rom. 3:10-12).
Jesus Loves Difficult People
The good news is, you are difficult and defiant and Jesus loves you.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
-1 John 4:10
We are not loved by God because we deserve it or because we have earned it. It is by his grace, in spite of our difficulties and our sin. We are loved because He is our Father, though all of us are sinful, prideful, and arrogant. You are so difficult that it cost Jesus his life. The gospel assaults our self-righteous perspective.
Love Begets Love
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
-1 John 4:9, 11
We are called to love others in that same manor we are loved by God. Not with a “this sucks but I’ll do it anyway” mindset, but with the love of Jesus Christ.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
-1 John 3:16
Loving others as Jesus loved means giving to people what they need, when they need it, no matter the cost to us. When we love like Jesus, we die to ourselves. Sacrificial love is putting another’s needs above our own (yes, even the needs of difficult people).
So how do you love difficult people? Take yourself out of the equation. It’s much more about showing the love of Jesus to others than it is about harnessing your skill to work with difficult people.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.