8 Christian Tips For Dealing With Difficult People

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

As Christians we should try to get along with the people around us. That does not mean we have to always agree with them, but we also should not intentionally look for opportunities to anger and upset people. Romans 12:18 tells us, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” This verse does not say it will always be possible, but we should try.

Here are 8 tips for dealing with difficult people for Christians.

Speak With Respect

Disagreements and misunderstandings will happen in life, but this is not an excuse to disrespect others. The Bible tells us that we should speak to others with love, even if we have to deal strongly with them. Love and respect should be our guide. Our speech should be kind but firm when necessary.

Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Colossians 4:6 “ Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

Christian Ways To Deal With Difficult People

Maybe the best way to sum this all up is to deal with people in love. Love the unsaved in such a way that they will want to know more about your God.

Follow The Pattern in Matthew 18

There is a distinct pattern given in Matthew 18 for dealing with a problem. I believe this is primarily talking about dealing with problems among believers, but it can be applied in many situations. First you go privately to the one with whom the problem is. Secondly, you take a couple of people with you so that you can establish the facts and that it is no longer a “he said, she said” argument. Finally, if you cannot resolve the issue then bring it to the attention of the authorities. Again, these verses are talking about the authority of the church, but it could also be applied to your office situation.

Matthew 18:15-17 “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

Along the lines of this, remember that there is safety in a multitude of counselors. Find people to talk with about the problem. These should be trusted people and not the church gossip. When talking to others about the problem, they may point out to you your own faults in the conflict. Check out Proverbs 11:14; 24:6.

Sometimes You Need To Walk Away

Sometimes it is better to walk away from an argument than to continue to dwell on it. This is not liberty to walk away from everything. There are things worth fighting for. But then there are things that just aren’t worth your time and allowing them to spoil your own relationship with the Lord.

You have to allow the Lord to give you direction on how to deal with different problems. After David was anointed king, but before he took the throne, he had to deal with Saul. God had already rejected Saul from being king over Israel. David realized that was a fight between Saul and God.

David allowed God to fight on his behalf. This is the same man who years before stood up for God and fought on behalf of God when facing Goliath. David had wisdom on knowing when it was time to fight and when it was time to walk away and allow God to handle the problem.

1 Samuel 24:10 “Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.”

Their Argument May Not Be With You

Sometimes a person will take out their frustration and anger on you when you aren’t really the problem. It doesn’t make you feel any better, but it may keep you from carrying a burden that isn’t really yours to carry. You may represent something (Christianity, God, authority) that they don’t like. Try not to take the argument and conflict personally.

The Hebrew people said to Samuel that he was too old to be their leader. They wanted a king who could go out to war and fight with them. Samuel felt pretty bad about the situation. He went to God depressed and complaining. God replied that the people were not angry with Samuel but they were angry with God. They were just taking out their frustrations on the prophet.

1 Samuel 8:7 “And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”

Examine Yourself

Before we can effectively deal with the problems in others, we must take care of ourselves. Matthew 7 gives an illustration that may seem silly, but it talks about human nature. The idea is that someone with a large piece of wood sticking out of their eye is criticizing another person who has a speck of dust in theirs. The one with the large piece of wood tries to ignore their own problem while dealing with the problems of others. Don’t be that person. Go to God and deal with your own faults before you try to correct others. When you humble yourself before God in confession then you will more gently handle the situation that you are in with the other person.

Matthew 7:3-5 “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

Remember You Are Accountable To God

You are accountable to God for your own actions. You cannot control what the other person does, but you can control how you respond. They too will be accountable for their actions, but not to you. They are accountable to God. God will hold you responsible for the way you act towards them. Paul admonishes us in Romans to realize that we are individually responsible for our actions and to not intentionally cause others to stumble and fall before the Lord.

Proverbs 28:13 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

Romans 14:10-13 “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.”

Pray For Them

The book of 1 Corinthians is a book of conflict. Paul was having to deal with problems in the church. But he starts the book by saying he is praying for them. He certainly gave them the correction they needed, but he began with prayer. He then closes the book by asking for God’s grace on the Corinthian believers.

1 Corinthians 1:3, 4 “ Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;”

1 Corinthians 16:23, 24 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Matthew 5:44, 45 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Sometimes You Must Agree To Disagree

Realize that ignoring a problem does not make it go away. One of the greatest missionary evangelists of all time, the Apostle Paul, had a disagreement with his mentor Barnabas. These two great men could not avoid a conflict. It is unlikely that we can too. However, they were able to deal with their conflict by agreeing to disagree on the issue. The Bible does not say who was right or wrong in the argument it just says that they split up.

As a side note, Paul later wrote that he wanted the young man John Mark (the cause of the conflict) to join him in the work because Paul could see he was profitable.

Acts 15:37-40 “And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus: And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.”

Summary: Treat People With Love

Maybe the best way to sum this all up is to deal with people in love. Love the unsaved in such a way that they will want to know more about your God. Love them so that their arguments will melt away. Love your Christian brother in a manner that will help him see how petty his arguments with you are. Your love may bring conviction to the saved or unsaved to help them turn to God for forgiveness.

Take a look at some more helpful articles:

Resources:

The Holy Bible, King James Version

www.youtube.com ” Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath



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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny McKinney September 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

To make deals with People who are in the Bad situation ? Make sure to schedule appointments somewhere, so no one is around talking. Thats what I did with my former relationship ? So it doesn’t create drama. She was around the age 21 and acts immature, she had a relative intervene between me and her. Her mom was acting like a drama queen. She was difficult saying no from her Mom and her family. Her mom said there is no problem with all the touching. How she feels ? Her mom was wrong about it. First of all her mom was referrring to me that she grew up being mentally abused. What I did is I said No by refusing ? She was touching somebody before me. When I meet this girl ? The People from my former church told me not to do anything with her, while her relatives intereferring. They said to me she was causing alot of trouble.

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Derek Hill September 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Good work on this one David. I know that I don’t always argue the way that God would have me. There is much to take from this article. I loved your summary. That is what we should all strive for. God bless you!

In His Name Always,
Derek

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Nicholas September 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I sent and do send this material to myself to refer to , and try to stay on track as to what GOD through HIS word would have me to do in situations . I want to portray GOD’s love , and treat others as I would want to be treated . In my fleshy sinful ways I know that I must rely on JESUS to help me in everything I do or say , and without him things aren’t possible , but with him all things are possible …….

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Myer Cooper, Jr. January 4, 2014 at 8:09 am

Thanks so much, David! I’m just coming across your article for the first time. But it is like you have just communicated to me a few minutes ago. The thoughts are so timeless and relevant. I have even copied some thoughts from your article to keep me reminded whenever I need help. Hope you do not have a problem with this. One more question, will you be willing to come to visit my country when extended an invitation? I’m from Liberia. Can we begin communicating through email?

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Tracy June 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

Hi all,

I live in another country now and it seems that the contract is not a big deal over here. And because there aren’t many Christians here, I’m often shocked by how undifferentiated right and wrong are. People seem to just mix their feelings and social relationships to decided how to act and what to do when situations arise. I have recently been renting from a woman who refuses to pay for the removal of mold her apartment and AC cleaning fees after I became sick because of all the health hazards in this place. Everything in the apartmenr is virtually in need of repair and she thinks I should just deal with it and refuse all responsibility. I was so angry because they usually ask for 6 months of rent ahead of time and now that I want to move out she refuses to let go of the money. To me it is clear that she lies and cheat habitually. There is no reasoning with her, and she comes up with a different excuse why I should not have my money back after promising to refund me.
But it seems my confontation with her have not won me any favors in the eyes of the local realtors. They seem to feel that she is on the right just because I was blunt in my speech while she uses a lot of flattering & pretentious language to come across differently. I know I should have been more calm but I feel as a Christian I shouldn’t act so fake. And it is utterlyhard for me to love her when it is clear to me that her only drive is greed and setting snares for you. She has quite a lot of my money which I need to rent another place. As a Christian what really shouldI do? I just don’t want to enable her scamming tendencies, but at the same time the more I let her drag me into day-long negotiations that only end up with her taking out more of my money. She pretty much has too much time ob her hands and havr no fear of God. After wasting two days of my time doing this, I really just want to tough up andsay: ” hey guess what? No money no keys for you” so she will stop toying with both me and the agent. What should I do as a wise believer? Is a Christian never to withold anything from a non-believer even knowing they are sly and manipulating you to scam your money? It’s weird, because people here don’t seem to reapond to truth, but only to tricky business. I’m so confused.

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Lynn Hooker October 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

Tracy, your land lord is completely wrong. As a Christian, yes there will be times that we are taken advantage of. However, there are far too many Scriptures that also tell us to rebuke, correct, etc. Remember when Paul said “Alexander the copper smith did me much wrong, watch out for him.” Some people clearly need to be reminded that it is not right to take advantage of others.

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jo December 18, 2015 at 10:39 am

Thanks Lynn. Your comment helps me out.
In sin I moved in with a man 5hrs ago. The Lord has changed me.
But the man has no change. He got bapstised after I caught him in another lie, talking to a 17yr old in DC.
And now a yr and half later no change.
My daughter and I share a room, while he has his own. 6 mos. ago he told me what I wanted to hear just so he could afford his car, apt, and loan.
I’ve been just so tired of it. Constant lies.
So March, Lord willing, I told him to pack his bags, and take his couch and leave.
Paul wrote if possible, as much lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. I just can’t do it. I look at him and all those lies,,, his actions, and everything just unnerves me.
If I can’t forgive, I will not be forgiven.
I forgave my ex after 6yrs. with Christ’s help. And able to him too but … He just gots to go.

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Raymond Force October 12, 2014 at 7:52 am

Thank you. I am preparing a message this morning on dealing with difficult people. Your article is very helpful.

Raymond

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Teresa October 15, 2014 at 6:05 am

I have found no matter how I approach an issue that even Christians write you off. The smallest thing and they ignore you. I have tried to move foward after a small disagreement and still they refuse to forgive or forget. How can I handle this it is so troubling to me.
Women are the worst and Im trying to teach my daughters how to handle conflict..

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sherry April 27, 2015 at 8:36 am

Thank you for your article. I too am having difficulty with a family member over a disagreement. I made a comment that was based on scripture to come to an eye opening subject where the body of Christ is concerned. My comment was not taken well by the other person and they have chosen not to speak to me and resolve this disagreement even though I tried and went to them on the issue. Instead the person has hate in their heart toward me over a very minor statement that has now led to sin. This person called my 18 year old daughter and told her she didn’t have to resolve the issue because I was the one that disagreed with her and that she even chose to slander, gossip and back bite against me to my young daughter that has caused my daughter distress toward the other person. I have always tried to resolve an issue or conflict ASAP as to not let things fester. I have always taught my daughter the same thing and to never talk behind peoples backs because its sinful. I don’t know if I should drop it and ignore this persons sin against me or should I walk away from this person all together? I have had several issues and run ins with this person in the past and she reacts the same towards me every time and never repents and apologizes of her sin of slander and gossip. I have always just overlooked her shortcomings and sin as to keep peace in the family and have chosen to love her in spite of herself. This has been going on for about 20 years now. This family member has been a Christian for 50 years but I see no change in how she deals with a disagreement or conflict. I cannot continue to turn the cheek and walk on egg shells with this person as they look for reasons to be offended as though her reactions to things is always right. I no longer know what to do?? Any advise would be appreciated

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Vicki November 17, 2015 at 5:21 pm

I was actually searching the Internet in trying to find a way to deal with conflict that I am enduring with my non believing stepson. He seeks me out looking for answers…stating that he is trying to understand my way of thinking…meaning being a born again Christian. I am fairly new in this marriage and have had to learn the hard way that this adult child is really out to interrogate me. I had to have my husband talk to him and ask him to talk to my husband about this issues…not me. He stopped asking. Recently, he did it again. It starts out with casual conversation with the usual how are you and the family…yada…yada…yada…and then if I say something that has a Christian connotation in his estimation…but just regular living from my perspective….he jumps on that to start the barrage of questions that I don’t feel comfortable asking…not because I don’t know the answers…but because I know his MO. So, last week, I told him that I felt uncomfortable discussing it with him because we have a history of disagreement in this area and that I didn’t want to argue with him…let’s drop it and move on…but he didn’t. He kept talking over me no matter how much I changed the subject. I finally told him that I was going to have to hang up…he was verbally hostile…but he then hung up on me. When I see him next, he will act like nothing happened…and in the meantime, I was left unnerved. I tried to be loving…calm and collected. I eventually found my frustration and was trying to be heard that I didn’t want to discuss it and I felt horrible after all was said and done. I just don’t know how to handle him whenever he acts that way. He is so hostile and yet will laugh it off later. I have met others who have had similar experiences…usually with unsaved friends or family members. How does one deal with this besides saying I love you…but I don’t want to talk about this? I am so frustrated. When I went to my pastor…he chastised me. I was told that I should have been more loving…though he doesn’t know the how story because he cut me off before I could finish the story. What to do? I love my husband, but want to walk away from it all. My husband thinks that I am too aggressive. I don’t start out aggressive…but I become defensive when I am verbally attacked and my stepson won’t let up.

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Jack Wellman November 17, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I think it is easy to be aggressive because you don’t want anyone to die apart from Christ (Rev 20:12-15) but we must trust God because He alone saves us and draws us to Himself through Christ (John 6:44), not us. Just back off the talk about Christ and live it, love him unconditionally, and pray for his soul. I think he is trying to draw you in to an argument. Resist it and change the subject or just tell him, you’d rather not talk about God unless your really interested. Then, the moment there’s a disagreement, you can say, “Well, times up…I’ve go things to do.”

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R Miller November 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm

My situation is that there is an in law in the family that can be quite charming when he wants to be and very disrespectful to several different members of the family at other times. This person has been in the family for many years and nothing ever seems to change, except perhaps who he is disrespecting at that particular time. Different people have talked to him about this over the years, including his wife, my family member, and it seems to help for a short time at the most. In fact, he truly seems to live for this. Some of us have tried ignoring it, some have tried discussing it with him and some have gotten upset enough to fire back at him. It happens at almost every holiday get together and makes people very uncomfortable…to the point of not even wanting to go. What can we do?

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Jack Wellman November 29, 2015 at 3:40 pm

All you can do is remember that we who are saved were once God’s enemies and wicked sinners, but Jesus died for us anyway (Rom 5:8-10) so pray for this man, do good to him, love him, as Jesus commands us to do even to our enemies. Pray for his salvation, if not saved. Speak kind to him when he doesn’t deserve it as God did to us is saving us. Read Matthew 5 and Romans 5 to see why I say these things my friend.

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Melanie December 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm

I think its important to avoid conflict at all costs because frankly most of the time its over something petty or something where no one is going to change their minds. When I can (which is more often than not) I avoid the person and the situation. Most of the time when I am in conflict with another person its that they want their way or want to win, and usually it doesnt harm anything to let them. Its a constant process in doing this (like, daily) but when I think ahead to eternity, most of it doesnt matter. Its just our flesh

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Vani April 21, 2016 at 4:11 am

I ran into a very unusual situation in my church. I belong to 2 parishes in 2 different states. Basically I’m a visitor in one of the parishes for a couple of months now for the past 3 years. In this parish I used to be part of a choir group when I used to spend longer durations and now continue to do so whenever I visit the parish. There is a lady who leads the choir and who is also a friend. However she is not able to get people to practice singing together before mass for some time now. Some times she is all by herself in the choir – she plays the keyboard and sings solo. On the first Friday of the month I happened to arrive at the church some time before the mass could being. This choir lead was present. After settling down, I asked with the choir lead if we had lector assigned for the mass as there were around 30 people who were present and could see a couple of usual lectors in the gathering. Since it was a Friday mass, we needed only 1 lector. She said, she would do the reading. I intervened and jokingly said, is it that she wants to do everything.. the keyboard, the singing, the reading. To this she said she likes reading and wants to do it. I told her we are here for community prayer and worship and that people in the congregations should be allowed to actively participate in the mass especially if we see good lectors around. To my dismay and shock she responded, nobody in this church reads better than me. I said we do have good readers and i’m sure the congregation understands what they read and appreciates it. She did not pay any attention to anything I had to say. Rather ended the conversation with another shocking statement. She said – If I’m allowed, actually i can do a better job than the priest as well.. I stood there speechless and wondered why God has sent this difficult person who is so full of pride around me. The only solution I have found is to distance myself from the person and not be a part of the choir anymore. Since I believe we can’t change people. The only thing we can change is ourselves. If this person has not reached a level of realization that her thinking is wrong, i’m only going to get more irritated by her behavior and lose my peace of mind. Can you please advice if there is a better way to handle the situation.

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Jack Wellman April 21, 2016 at 8:46 am

I would talk to the priest about this. You said you read better than anyone else there so that is somewhat prideful too but really, we all have pride and need to kill our pride. This woman is really full of herself. Tell the priest and if her dominating things bothers you, tell the priest you have to go elsewhere. Remember that Jesus died for us while ungodly, wicked, enemies of Him (Rom 5:6-10) and since we’re to pray for our enemies, do good to them that abuse us, and bless those that persecute us, can’t we do the same things for this woman?

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Vani April 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm

oops.. When i said – To my dismay and shock she responded, “nobody in this church reads better than me” I was referring to a statement made by the choir leader. The me here refers to herself/choir leader and not me.. i’ve confused you with my writing.. As for me, I shy away from reading and was in the choir only to sing songs of worship and always believed like minded people existed around me in the choir who weren’t running any race or trying to prove themselves.
Thank you for your suggestion. I do pray for her.. but somehow i don’t feel like singing in the same choir.. Is it wrong to keep distance?

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Gailan August 24, 2016 at 10:04 am

Is there ever a time when, as a Christain, you just have to walk away? I am dealing with an adult bully in the workplace. I am at the end of my rope. I tied a knot, and I’m hanging on. Unfortunately, my finances don’t allow me to just walk away, or I would have already. This is a very stressful situation. After I leave work, I cry all the way home. I push hard to get out of bed every day. When I am not working, I don’t want to go anywhere. I have lost faith in the human race. This bully is also on the roll at my church. She represents my church. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever gone through. I don’t know what to do anymore. I just want it all to end!

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Jack Wellman August 24, 2016 at 10:53 am

My friend, the Bible tells us “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18), so Paul acknowledges that it may not always be possible. You have tried and you don’t want to make yourself sick. I would at least pray about this, talk to a trusted Christian friend in your church and perhaps, it may come to speaking with the pastor. I also lost my faith in the human race but not in Christ. HE’s the One Who we must trust in. I hate to see you want to end your life because Dr. Lutzer once said, “Don’t put a period where God intends a comma.”

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