By Robert White

Dr. Robert White was raised in central Florida and completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida. After college, he completed the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. For more than 40 years he has served as pastor of churches in Florida and in Massachusetts. In October 2016, Dr. White joined Care For Pastors as a Pastoral Counselor/Coach. Robert currently resides with his wife, Kaye, in Leesburg, Florida.

    How to Deal With Difficult People

    Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    There have always been and always will be troublemakers on this earth. You don’t have to live too long to recognize that there are difficult people in this world. They are difficult to get along with, difficult to deal with, difficult to live with and difficult to worship with. So, how do we learn to handle difficult people? The Word of God has some helpful principles that address this ever-present problem.

    When dealing with difficult people it is important to remember that they come in all shapes and sizes:

    • The Sherman Tank – will run over you if you let them
    • The Megaphone – will talk your ear off
    • The Bubble Buster – deflates everyone’s enthusiasm
    • The Volcano – has a temper like Mount St. Helen’s
    • The Cry Baby – this chronic complainer holds a pity party
    • The Nit Picker – is the unpleasable perfectionist
    • The Space Cadet – is on a different wavelength and lives in his or her own world

    Here are four observations about how Jesus dealt with difficult people:

    Realize that you can’t please everybody.

    “…for I seek not to please myself, but him who sent me,” (John 5:30)

    Jesus kept His focus on pleasing the Father. Difficult people will rob you of joy and energy if you let them. Like Jesus, keep your focus on the Father and don’t be distracted by difficult people.

    Refuse to play their game.

    “But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?” (Matthew 22:18)

    Learn to say no to unrealistic expectations. Confront them by “Speaking the truth in love.” Don’t allow difficult people to disrupt your priorities, your goals, your mission, and your love for Christ.

    Never retaliate.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, but I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)

    Getting angry only lowers you to their level. You are much better off letting God handle the retaliation. Remember HE said, “Vengeance is MINE, I will repay.” (Romans 12:19)

    Pray for them.

    “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44)

    Prayer will help both of you. God will help you and He will handle them. Turn it over to HIM in prayer.  “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

    1. Pastors, you do not have to face this alone. Reach out to us and allow us to help you navigate through the challenges of pastoral ministry. Don’t put it off. Reach out to us today.
    Dr. James Clark wrote a series of articles entitled, “The Fax of Life.“ One of his articles was about dealing with difficult people. This blog was written using notes and adaptations from that article.

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

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