Do you find some people you lead difficult? I certainly do. God has been speaking to me about it recently – this is what He said…
(So first of all, I am not mentioning any names in this post – I do not believe that will be constructive nor will it be honoring to the person or ethical for me to so do. My whole aim in this is to bring restoration, growth and health to the relationship rather than damage it further.)
I have known this particular person in our congregation for a number of years and have worked closely with him on a number of occasions. Over the years our relationship has become increasingly strained, mainly because some of the things he does and says really annoy me to the point of making me furious!
Since stepping into full-time ministry it seems as though our relationship has reached a new low. I get annoyed and angry more quickly than before and I don’t really know how to talk to him about the issues. I have tried in the past, but somehow he listens but does not really hear me.
Where to from here?
I have a mentor in the senior leadership team in our church. I have discussed the problem with him and I fully admit that the fault lies not just with the person who I find difficult, but with me too. I realise that I play a part in this and that he may be finding me equally challenging.
So I have started discussing my problem with someone, and I am also praying for the relationship and for the person whom I find difficult.
Going through this recently brought to mind a book I read a while ago by John Ortberg called ‘The Me I Want To Be’. There was a particular chapter in it that I really didn’t want to read. It is called ‘Find a Few Difficult People to Help You Grow’. This acted as a strong repellent at the time! However I did read it, despite finding it challenging.
I have referred back to it today and he makes some great observations:
- The first one is from The Bible – Matthew 5:43-48
” ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- We all have difficult people in our lives. In fact if one difficult person leaves another one will arrive soon enough. In fact God can use difficult people to grow us more effectively and deeply than the people we like.
- “Other people don’t create your spirit – they only reveal it” – wow. How challenging is that!
- There is no such thing as a perfect person – everyone is a difficult person in one way or another.
- “But take heart. You are the difficult person he is sending to shape somebody else.”
- We can’t change people. Only God can touch the deep, inmost parts of a person’s being – prayer is the closest we come to being able to influence people at their deepest level.
So I am going to continue to pray for him. For a restoration and strengthening of our relationship. For health and balance to be restored between us as parts of the Body of Christ. For this healing to extend into the body of our church as a whole.
Will you pray for someone you find difficult today?