Friday, September 13, 2013

Dealing with Difficult People

Do you have a friend who’s an arrogant know-it-all or a spouse who nags you like a woodpecker on an oak tree? Difficult people can be in our place of work, our church or right in our own home. 
But you don’t have to live with hurtful words and put downs—or someone who is simply annoying.  

You have choices. 

No matter what happens or how people treat you, you can choose how you will respond. You can respond defensively and angrily, or kindly with respect and tact. You can change the subject. You can walk away. You can choose not to argue and take the high road.  

Of course, it’s natural to be offended when someone hurts our feelings, but what we do with that offense—whether we hold it inside and let it fester, or release it—makes all the difference.  

What are some lessons we can learn from Christ’s examples of how he treated people (with love, respect, and addressing the person’s true need)? How can we deal with conflict and strife from the difficult people in our lives? Here are just a few ideas:  

Love. Jesus said radical things like: Love your enemies. Human nature often wants to do the opposite. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to “speak the truth in love²” and say the hard things, with kindness and tact, but also with boldness and truth. 

Stay calm. James 3:18 reads, “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” You can choose to be a person of peace despite your circumstances.  

Keep perspective. Hurting people hurt other people. The annoying person in the cubicle next to you may have issues in his life you know nothing about. But, past pain in someone else’s life doesn’t excuse bad behavior in yours. Knowing that may help you to better deal with the situation since often the problem is not about you, it’s about them.  

Communicate with tact.  Don’t blame or accuse, instead say, “When you (describe their action), I feel (describe how you feel). “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).  Of course, there are times when, despite your best efforts you may need to leave the room and handle the situation another time so anger can diffuse.  

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”  

Pray. Most importantly, pray for the person who’s annoying you, and for grace and strength in your response. Your prayers are powerful and effective! Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  

Coping with difficult people is part of life. It isn’t always easy, but God will be your strength to help you overcome and deal with that person in your office or your living room who’s not the easiest person to be around.  

Pray about your challenges. Give them to God, and ask for wisdom, healing and hope. Then watch what happens.  

You just might be surprised.  


For more about dealing with difficult people,
see Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times by Jackie M. Johnson.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dealing with Rejection after a Breakup


Breakups are tough. And no matter how hard someone tries to carefully choose their words, rejection hurts. Even if you only went out a few times the sting of their rebuff can leave you feeling like a dating discard or send you into a what-is-wrong-with-me spiral.  

Whether you were together for two weeks or two years, being rejected can leave you feeling unwanted, insecure, or “less than.”  How can you cope? 

When you feel rejected, it’s important to remember that there’s what happened and what you tell yourself about what happened. Often, a guy is not rejecting you as a person, but making a choice on the best fit for him (just as you make a choice on what’s the best fit for you).  

It’s crucial to know that not being chosen doesn’t mean you’re not acceptable. You are still worthy and wonderful whether the other person realizes it or not.  You may not feel very wonderful right now, but don’t let what someone else thinks erode your sense of self.   

Besides the guy may have his own issues to deal with too. When he says, “It’s not you, it’s me” you may want to believe him. On the other hand, there may be things in your own life you want to change—like false beliefs that are preventing you from lasting love. It’s worth praying about and exploring how you can become your best self whether you are in a relationship or not.  

No matter who initiated the breakup, remember that you will always be significant and important in the eyes of the One who loves you most.  

Keep reminding yourself of the truth, because truth combats lies like light combats darkness. You matter to God, and He has unending love for you. You are the apple of his eye. He chose you. You are accepted in the Beloved. You are enough, and you are worth being loved well.  

Truly, your love life matters to God. He is still in control and He is leading you on a path to good purposes.  

God redeems loss and pain and heals the heart to love again.


To learn more about healing from a dating relationship breakup or divorce,
check out When Love Ends by Jackie M. Johnson. Available in paperback or e-book.