Be patient with people you think are difficult to be around. You may be that person for someone else.  Create harmony in all relationships.

 

 

All the talk during the first part of the week was the Powerball – “Your stupid if you don’t play” I heard on the radio.

Gambling – state lotteries (legal in 43 states) is not a good idea.  It is a tax that people happily pay without complaining.  Americans spend more than $70 billion dollars a year on lotteries. That’s more than the combined spending on books, video games, and movie and sporting-event tickets. That is a lot of entertainment.

 

1 Timothy 6:9  People who want to get rich fall into temptation … 10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

 

Make sure you don’t love money. Trust God not money.

Our Father’s city, Heaven, has pearly gates and a street of gold (Revelation 21:21).

 

Money – the lack of or how it is spent causes many problems in families. If we don’t love money, if we don’t trust in money we will be able to hold it lightly and will be able to live in harmony.

 

Last we discussed living in harmony with each other by living in harmony with God and His will.

Today I want to take a different approach to living in harmony; how can we create harmony with difficult people.

 

Create Harmony

Romans 12:16

 

Do you know anyone who is grumpy, or prickly, or difficult to be around?

You may describe them as irritable, cantankerous, belligerent or just plain mean.

They may live in your house or visit on occasion – they may just be you.

“Sometimes I wake up grumpy, sometimes I let him sleep.”

Why are there so many people that are hard to get along with?

I’m not and you’re not – what is wrong with everyone else?

 

Have you ever thought that maybe that difficult person is only difficult from your perspective? Maybe you rub them the wrong way or you make them tense.  It is not always the other person’s fault.  It never hurts to look in the mirror.

 

Why are you grumpy and difficult to deal with sometimes?   We often have to deal with the Nellie Olsen’s of the world – you may be mean too if you had a mother like her; but Mr. Olsen was kind (Little House on the Prairie characters).

Let’s not focus on others but let’s focus on ourselves.

How do you act on a bad day – a day full of stress or disappointment?

Most people are not just evil, there is usually a reason why someone is always prickly.

Even porcupines can be cute and cuddly.

 

If we are going to create harmony with people we need to understand people. We need to take time to figure out what makes them tick.  Maybe they are just having a bad day or year, maybe they misunderstand your motives, maybe they are trying to protect themselves or their family, maybe she has a low self-image or he is insecure.  There are hundreds of reasons why people are difficult to get along with.  But it is our job to create harmony with them.

 

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another.

 

God created us in His image to be social beings, we were created to have relationships with each other.

If you don’t believe that look how “Social Media” has exploded the last few years – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – people spend more than 2 hours a day being “social” online.  We may be redefining what social is but people want to know others and be known.

 

Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” …20  So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21  So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22  Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

 

We need each other – it is not good for us to be alone.

Sometimes people are prickly because they are lonely and scared. Can we be loving and gracious to those who may be hurting and a little hard to deal with because they need someone also.

Even if someone is selfish or proud or angry all the time doesn’t mean we can’t treat them with love and respect.  That may be what they need to fill the void and be a cheerful, happy person.

 

They are not grumpy – they are just cheer-challenged. Let’s help them find their cheer.

 

We can help them if we follow Paul’s nuggets of truth. When we practice these truths we will create harmony with everyone (Romans 12:9-21)

Love each other, be devoted to one another, honor one another, share with each other, be hospitable, bless others, rejoice with others, mourn with others, associate with everyone, do what is right for everyone, care for other’s needs, and do good.

 

Paul tells us somethings not to do also.

Don’t curse one another, don’t be proud, don’t be conceited, don’t repay evil for evil, don’t take revenge

 

In this passage Paul says,

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

 

It does depend on you – whether they are at war with you, you can be at peace with them.

How can we live in harmony – how can we live at peace with prickly people?

The foundational principle is Patience

Be patient, don’t have a quick temper, practice self-control, and keep doing what is good.

(Ephesians 4:2, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs 16:32, Galatians 6:9)

 

Proverbs 14:29  A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

 

So many people claim not to have patience – maybe that is our problem. Patience is a skill you need to learn.  Patience is a fruit of the Spirit you grow in (Galatians 5:22).  Patience means you have a long fuse instead of a short fuse.

If you have a short fuse you will always be angry about something, a long fuse will allow you to relax and not be stressed out.  Has getting angry ever helped the situation?  NO, it usually makes it a lot worse.

 

When you become more patient difficult people are less prickly. So take a deep breath, count to ten, and ask God to give you strength to bless the person.

 

That is kind of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Luke 6:27  “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. … 31  Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Love, do good, bless, pray – treat them like you want to be treated when you are having a bad day.

 

Let me give you a few tips to deal with difficult people and how to handle conflict.

 

  1. Love – speak to them with respect

No one has to earn your love and no one has to earn your respect.  Love everyone, Respect everyone

What would happen if you showed love and respect to the angry person? They may just calm down and treat you with love and respect.

 

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

 

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

 

Who needs more grace than an irritable, cantankerous, and belligerent person?

What better way to show your faith in Christ than to give grace to those who drive you crazy?

 

  1. Understand – their argument may not be with you

What is happening in their life?  Maybe they have been hurt or abused in the past and that little boy or girl reaction is coming out in the situation.

It may not be you, you may not be the problem.  You may even represent something that they don’t like (Christianity, God, authority). Try not to take the conflict personally see how you can be a blessing.

 

Luke 6:28  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you

 

  1. Examine yourself – you may be part of the problem

Before we can effectively deal with the problems in others, we must take care of ourselves.

 

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 

We often get upset with others over the same struggles that we face. If you are too much a like you may have serious issues.  When you see you in them you will be able to be more patient.

 

  1. Accountability – God holds us accountable

God holds us accountable for our actions – how do we treat each other.

 

Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.

 

  1. Pray – for the difficult people in your life

There is no better way to deal with a difficult person than to pray for yourself and for the other person.

 

Luke 6:27 pray for those who mistreat you.

 

  1. Talk through the issue

Don’t let an issue fester.

Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27  and do not give the devil a foothold.

 

  1. Apologize and Forgive

Take responsibility and apologize, be the bigger person.  Extend forgiveness even before someone asks.

 

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

Simply love prickly people like Jesus.

 

Romans 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. 19  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. …21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. … 10  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. …13  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14  Bless those who persecute you; …16  Live in harmony with one another.  17 Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. … 18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

 

Create Harmony

 

God created harmony with us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were a belligerent sinner.

 

Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Come as you are and accept God’s forgiveness.