“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
No one mastered the art of dealing with difficult people better than Jesus. The Romans wanted to silence Him, Herod wanted to kill Him, Pilate washed his hands of Him, religious leaders envied Him, His family thought He’d lost His mind, His townspeople wanted to stone Him, Thomas doubted Him, Peter denied Him, soldiers beat Him, the crowds shouted for His crucifixion, and His closest followers ran out on Him. Yet Jesus never prayed for God to remove the difficult people from His life. If He had, there would have been nobody left. Sometimes even prayer can be misused as a way of avoidance. Sometimes we ask God to remove a difficult person from our life because we’re not willing to confront that person honestly. And if God answered that prayer the way we wanted, we’d lose the opportunity for growth that is His great desire for us.
Jesus’ teachings about dealing with difficult people flowed out of deep, intimate, painful experiences and wisdom. And they’ve influenced world leaders and movements like no other words that have ever been spoken — from Mahatma Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Nelson Mandela.
Peter writes: “If you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps … He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly” (vv. 20-23). And you are called to follow His example.
Heavenly Father, let me learn from You the ministry of dealing with difficult people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.