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A Burning Question

May the God of peace,…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21

The question came up during a job interview. “How do you deal with difficult people?” Caught off guard, I am afraid my answer did not really cut it. “Sometimes I laugh.”

I guess because of the inadequacy of my answer, that question just burned a hole in my heart and mind. I kept revisiting it.

I have to admit, sometimes I do laugh. Do they realize how childish they are acting? Sometimes I use avoidance. I stay away from them as much as possible.

The truth of the matter is that usually if a person is “difficult”, they have an underlying reason behind their crankiness. In getting to know people I have discovered some of their reasons.

Issues from childhood rank high on the list – verbal, physical, emotional abuse; an alcoholic or drug addicted parent; extreme losses of relatives or home. If these issues remain buried they can lead to an adult not trusting others or their world around them.

They could be experiencing difficulties in the present which cause their reactions to seem cranky or edgy. Death of a spouse, divorce, caring for aging parents, children who choose a seemingly wrong path for their lives can all cause a person to be weighed down by life.

I have to admit sometimes even I am the “difficult person.” How would I like people to deal with me when I am unpleasant? Quite frankly, I would like to be treated with kindness.

The next time this question comes up, I want to be ready for it. My answer will be quite different from the first time. I will say that I want to get to know that person. Maybe I can get that person to trust me enough to share their burden with me. I will treat that person with kindness and pray for them every time they come to mind. That is my resolve to “deal with difficult people” from now on. With God’s guidance, I believe I can succeed.

Father, help me to be more thoughtful and kind as I am dealing with others. Thank you for your grace when dealing with me.

Susan P.

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