How to Deal with Difficult People, pt. 2
vv. 1-2 Relationship w/ God
vv. 3-13 Relationship w/ believers
vv. 14-21 Relationship w/ unbelievers in general, and difficult people in particular...when they're mad, glad, or sad.
1. Treat them with kindness [vv. 14-15]
[see pt. 1]
2. Treat them with meekness [v. 16]
'same mind one toward another' = impartiality = treating everyone the same, regardless of who they are [financial standing / social standing / affluence or lack thereof]
1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
'Target Evangelism' = focusing on specific groups. The Bible way is targeting everyone! We don't avoid the rich, but we don't cater to them either, and we're not surprised when it is the poor, and those who realize they are sick, who respond.
I like the fact that we are a people's church where the ground is level...there's a lot of blue collars. Everybody is somebody and nobody is anybody.
But in our world it's easy to get sucked into the mindset of judging by appearance. We all do it, don't we? Ever had a hard time seeing past the nose ring, pink hair, pierced tongue, or tattoos? Employers can't see past it...but does that person have a soul? Are they a sinner in need of a Savior?
In school we had cliques:
rich kids/snobs...we were jealous of them!
jocks...I tried to be one of them.
indians/mexicans/honkies like me!
There's only one race. And we're all sinners, all special needs, and we all deserve a chance. We are supposed to be of the same mind one toward another.
Hidden cameras show how beautiful people get better treatment than others. Now, I love her, but it's not fair for my wife always get preferential treatment!
ill.--they sent a homely woman to a group of men, asking for directions to a store. They pointed her toward it and turned their backs. They sent a gorgeous woman and these guys dropped everything, and fought over who would carry her stuff for her!
1 in 3 are good looking...so look right and left, and if it's not them, it must be you!
Remember part 1...this isn't just about getting along. It's about making a positive impact on an unbeliever so they will get saved.
Many difficult people are just the result of being mistreated, neglected, and put down by so many for so long that they have become defensive. Hurt people hurt people. We can show Christ's love and have quite an impact just by being nice and giving equal treatment to them.
ill.--a certain beggar walked up to a man on the street and asked for a dollar so he could eat something. He wanted to help but had nothing on him. "Sir, I'm sorry, but I don't have a penny on me." The beggar replied, "That's ok, you have already given me more than anyone else today...attention -- and you called me sir!"
'mind not high things'
Don't have an over inflated opinion of yourself.
Is low self esteem really our problem, or is it pride?
I don't know how many truly great preachers there are in this world, but the total number is likely one less than I think!
A holier than thou attitude is a massive turn off to the lost. You're no better than a lost person...you've simply experienced the wonderful grace of Jesus! Christians aren't perfect...just forgiven.
v. 16 'condescend' does not mean to participate in their sins. We have been duped into believing that we will win their respect by acting like them...or make them feel more comfortable by showing we're 'real'. We don't win respect that way, we lose it. They are watching us, not to see if we are real people, but if we are real Christians. I think they are hoping to be pleasantly surprised...but so often they are sadly mistaken.
You don't act/dress/talk like the world to win the world.
v. 16 'be not wise in your own conceits'
A conceited, self promoting Christian is a true contradiction. Humility is what truly qualifies a Christian. Humility is how we were saved, and it's the way to be promoted and exalted as well!
Remember: We are what we are by the grace of God!
When you see a drunk in the gutter/a ruined marriage/a fallen preacher...you should say, but by the grace of God, there go I!
ill.--Alex Hailey had a picture in his office of a turtle on a fence post, admiring the view. Asked why he said, because you know he had some help!
Treat people with kindness and meekness...
3. Treat them with goodness [vv. 17-21]
This is the one that goes against our nature so much. We get even. [have to POST something!] I think I could count on one hand the Christians I have known who truly exemplify this principle, and I am not one of them. Again, we very rarely practice these verses on one another...even in our own homes, let alone on unbelievers.
We say vengeance is mine alright! You raise your voice at me I raise it right back. We return evil for evil. We have that sibling syndrome all our lives. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard, 'he started it!'
And we never grow out of it! As kids we threw spit balls back and forth, now as adults we throw icy stares back and forth, no wonder nations are throwing bombs back and forth! Somebody is supposed to break the cycle, and it's supposed to be disciples of Christ!
We're consumed with vengeance, and taking sides. Is that really the person you want to be?
ill.--1992, Lady Sarah Graham Moon, wife of a famous British aristocrat. She found out he was cheating on her. She decided to get even and began a series of exploits.
She began by pouring many gallons of paint inside his cherished BMW while it was parked in his girlfriend's driveway. She went to his suit closet, which had 32 tailor made suits hanging in it which cost $1600 each. [you could buy my entire wardrobe for that...tonite!] She cut the left sleeve off each of those suits.
This made the news, and other ladies began to write the paper with their own ideas, like cleaning the toilet w/ his toothbrush or my favorite, Vera Zermack of Switzerland, who decided she'd show her husband by committing suicide in front of him. She waited 'til he was on the sidewalk beneath their 3rd floor balcony, she jumped at that moment. She survived...because she landed on him...killing him! She was maimed.
But the Bible says retaliation should not be what Christians are all about.
It gets more challenging in v. 20. Not only should we not take vengeance, but we should do the opposite of what our nature demands.
Coals of fire on the head is an old Egyptian custom. To show public contrition you would walk around with a pan of burning coals balanced on your head as a symbol of your burning shame.
ill.--a man chews his wife out and slams the door, off to work. He stews all day and knows he's in for it when he gets home...but instead she greets him with a kiss, a big dinner, and kindness. Unless he is evil, he feels the shame and makes it right.
joke--A marine walked into the mess hall, and there was a skinny little sailor at the counter. The marine backhanded him, knocking him off his stool. "That was Karate from Korea!" The sailor got back up on the stool, and turned the other cheek without a word. A few minutes later the marine walked back over and did it again. "That was Judo from Japan." Again the sailor silently got back up. Again it happened: "Tae-Kwon-Do from Tai Pei." The sailor hobbled out to his car, and returned with an object in his hand, and cold cocked the marine from behind, knocking him out. He said to the manager, "If he happens to wake up, please tell him that was a crow bar from True Value."
I believe we have the right to defend our lives, but the Bible shows us that we are not to use crow bars in defending our pride.
1 Peter 2:21-23
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Leave it in God's hands...our defender! And the next time you feel mistreated, remember Calvary.
The hands they nailed were stretched out in love.
The crown of thorns was placed on a head filled with thoughts of forgiveness.
And when that spear was thrust into His side out flowed blood and water, because He died of a broken heart, broken over our sin!
The message of Calvary is that this world will crucify you, but you endure it for them, and some standing by will see that, will kneel, and believe!
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