Christmas is coming and with it we find ourselves drawn to gatherings with family and friends. Sometimes they come with candlelight, laughter and intimate holiday cheer. Other times, they bring stress, rushing, arguments and a longing to get away from it all.
I am not sure if any of us can say we do not have at least one difficult person in their life. For those of us that are lucky, they are people who are somewhat avoidable in life, maybe a co-worker, client or community member. For others the challenge is harder as difficult personalities are found in people who for better or worse are regularly part of our lives. Perhaps it is a parent, a child, an in-law, or a second cousin twice removed…but for many families there is at least one…the one we close our eyes and say a quick prayer for patience and to control our tongue when they arrive.
As Christians, trying to follow the example of Christ, what do we do? How do we carry ourselves in a way that will glorify God and represent who we truly are. Here are some things to remember:
1. You Can Not Change Them
It is important to understand something, it is not our responsibility nor within our ability to change someone’s heart. The only power capable of infiltrating and cleansing a difficult spirit is God. Find encouragement in this thought as often so much of what we get caught up in is trying to ‘set them right’ or ‘ explain to them’.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekial 36:26
It is a hard thing, to accept that things may never change, but an important realization to come to.
2. You Can Not Control Yourself
When you are going into a circumstance that you know is going to be hard, draining or difficult you will not, on your own, be able to control your emotions. Amazingly for us, God is in control, and He can work in us to bring peace to us in the most tumultuous times. I encourage you that as you would prepare for any daunting task in life – prepare your heart and spirit. Be honest to God about your fears, about your iniquities, then read scripture, pray, and do not set false expectations of your capacity to manage.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23
“”If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten in innocence. You will be strong and free of fear.” Job 11:13-15
3. You Can Trust in God In Every Circumstance
God loves you. He has a plan for you. Consider this…if we for a moment put aside everything is our heart regarding a circumstance, abolish all past judgement, pain and bitterness. If we hollow out that space and allow the loving peace of God to fill it to overflowing…then consider for a moment, that in doing that you may be the very vessel that God chooses to work through in the life of that person and impact them for His kingdom. Oh what a blessing that would be!
” See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing” Phillippians 2:14
4″But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44
Friends, this is NOT easy…but often in our walk we are not called to what is easy. We are called to what is right. My prayer for you is that any difficult circumstance you would face this season, God would have a fresh presence in and He would be glorified by your faithfulness. One of my favourite songs reminds me “He never said it would be easy, He only said we’d never go alone”.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” Zephaniah 3:17
Be Blessed Today!