Monday, November 16, 2015

Those DIFFICULT People

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  Philippians 1:3(NLT)
Paul was thinking of a wonderful group of people at Philippi when he wrote those words. 

I wonder what he thought when he wrote:

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20(NLT)

We have all dealt with our share of “difficult people”.

In honor of having written about 500 of these daily devotionals, I’m going to let someone else say what I would say about this topic…only much better than I could.

The following article was posted on Western North Carolina Blog 2.0:

Why I’m Thankful for Difficult People

by René Wilt
It was just a few months into my first full-time ministry appointment when my daughter called from a bookstore in her college town. “Mom, I found a book for you. It’s entitled, How to Deal with Difficult People, and get this - it’s on display right in the middle of the Religious section.”

I smiled to myself at how my family had so quickly learned what it was like to view the underbelly of a church. People can be difficult.  
As I reflect over my years in ministry, I have actually learned to be thankful for difficult people. Not a warm-and-fuzzy kind of thankfulness, but rather a humbling sense of gratitude that often tasted bitter going down.

An unknown writer has said: “I think of difficult people as my teacher instead of my enemy.” As much as I may not want it to be so, I have been both blessed and taught by some of the most difficult people I have met.
Indeed, some of my best learned lessons have come by hearing hard things from hard people – people who have caused me to hold up a mirror and take a look at a part of myself I really didn’t want to see.
  • The critic who approached every Sunday after worship with a clipboard of notes.
  • The committee chair who literally came out of his chair in anger.
  • The anonymous letter I threw away but couldn’t ignore.
  • The high maintenance person who I saw as needy, but who simply saw me as friend.
A wise mentor once told me that in every criticism there’s a morsel of truth. Although my difficult people were not always gentle, kind, or even appropriate in their methods, I usually found my mentor was right. Through these persons I learned to see my dark side, to better understand my “hot buttons,” and to be more accepting of my own difficult-ness.
So as strange as it may seem, as I’m counting my blessings this Thanksgiving season I shall swallow hard and give thanks for the difficult people I have known.  And I can only pray they will swallow hard and give thanks for having known me.
Rev. René Wilt is Church Vitality Strategist working especially with the Northern Piedmont and Yadkin Valley Districts.
Think about that out on the Rocky Road today…and have a great day!

[1] By Mimooh, via Wikimedia Commons

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