2001-11-11 - Passages about Dealing with Difficult
Originally Published 1998-08-09
Today we will look at some of the Bible's passages about dealing with difficult
people. Of course, this is an area where we really need the Spirit's discernment
in order to remain balanced. God wants us to love everyone, but He doesn't
want us to be doormats. Jesus was never a doormat. Whether it meant loving
forgiveness, one-on-one confrontations, or putting up boundaries, He sought
what was best for the people involved.
(Mat 18:21-22 NRSV) Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord,
if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?
As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell
you, seventy-seven times."
(Mat 5:44-45 NRSV) But I say to you, Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your
Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
(Mat 18:15-17 NRSV) If another member of the church sins
against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If
the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not
listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may
be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses
to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to
listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax
(Rom 12:17-20 NRSV) Do not repay anyone evil for evil,
but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible,
so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge
yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance
is mine, I will repay, "says the Lord. No, if your enemies are hungry, feed
them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this
you will heap burning coals on their heads.
(1 Pet 2:18 NRSV) Slaves, accept the authority of your
masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also
those who are harsh.