Episode 1. The Most Difficult Person You'll Ever Meet
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Relationships are tricky things and sometimes, when a relationship isn’t going so well, it’s easy to blame the other person. But that isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with things. I’m …
Relationships are tricky things and sometimes, when a relationship isn’t going so well, it’s easy to blame the other person. But that isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with things.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but there’s one thing about other people, they’re everywhere, you just can’t get away from them! Sure we can have a break, bit of quiet time, read a book, have a cup of coffee, but for most of us most of the time we have to spend with other people. At home with our families, at work with our bosses or colleagues or staff, socially with friends and acquaintances, and some of those people, let’s face it; they’re difficult to deal with.
Sometimes they’re rude or hurtful, sometimes they ignore us or disappoint us, sometimes they abuse us. Dealing with difficult people is one of the most important skills that we all need because it turns out our whole quality of life can be affected by how we deal with difficult people. So how do we deal with difficult people?
It’s true isn’t it; difficult people are there everywhere you turn? And they upset our lives, we don’t need a lot of them, just one in one part of our life will do it for us. Just recently Jacqui and I moved to a new house which is a very old house, it’s an old terrace and it needs a little bit of doing up and we started with the bathroom. The bathroom was sort of grotty and old, so we thought, “let’s do it up!” Now let me tell you this is no huge bathroom, it’s about 2 metres by 2 metres, it’s the second smallest room in the house. And to do it they had to rip all the tiles off the wall and the concrete and cut into the concrete wall and pull the concrete up from the floor.
They had to use a jack hammer and a diamond tip saw. And the noise and the concrete dust for three days went into every corner of the house; you couldn’t get away from it. I am certain that a hundred percent of the surfaces in our house had concrete dust; you know that really fine awful dust. Now they put some blue plastic up to try and keep it down but it doesn’t matter how much they tried the disruption and the impact of their work in this tiny little room effected the whole house and I’m sure it effected our neighbors as well, it went on for three days.
It’s like that I think with difficult people too. It maybe that we have a difficult person just in one part of our lives. Maybe just at work where there is friction with someone but it’s hard to leave it behind. We come home and it affects who we are, it affects what we do, it affects how we feel, it affects our relationship with our family. Or maybe at home there’s tension between husband and wife and so our teenage children go to school and they’ve got turmoil inside, they don’t know why but they just have. See difficult people in our lives are just like those builders renovating my bathroom, the impact goes right through our lives and it affects not only us but those who are close to us.
We’re going to spend some time together this week, looking at how to deal with those difficult people, we all have impacts in our lives from difficult relationships and I really believe that God wants us to be set free from the pain and the hurt that comes from dealing with difficult people. Let me ask you, who is the most difficult person you’ve ever met? Just close your eyes for a minute, just think and picture who that person might be. Chances are that stirs up all sorts of emotions, chances are you can see their faces; chances are you feel the hurt and the pain.
Now open your eyes and if I was with you right now I’d like to hold up a mirror and say, “have a look in this mirror, have a really good look because there is the most difficult person you’ll ever meet. Let me introduce you to you, because you are the most difficult person you’ll ever meet, and I am the most difficult person that I will ever meet.” Why is that? Because you can’t ever get away from you, and I can’t ever get away from me. We are with ourselves 24×7 for the rest of our lives.
And when we look at difficult people in our lives, actually it’s not so much that the people are difficult it’s the fact that the relationships are difficult. Takes two to tango doesn’t it? In any relationship it takes two to tango, and as much as we might want to pass all the blame onto the other person, fact is when it comes to difficult relationships we are often the biggest contributors through our own weaknesses, through our own mistakes, through the stupid things that we do.
Isn’t it funny how we will cut ourselves a whole bunch more slack than we cut the other person? True isn’t it, be honest? We forgive our own failures and faults and make allowances for our own weakness and laziness and stupidity and pride, we make allowances and forgive ourselves much more quickly than we will do for other people.
And Jesus comes along and says, “Look you know what the problem is? The problem is the way we see things. The problem is our perspective is distorted.” I’d like to read you what he said, it comes from Matthew’s gospel, first book in the New Testament, chapter 7, this is what Jesus said:
“Don’t judge other people and you won’t be judged, because with the judgment that you judge, you will be judged, and the measure that you give, you will be measured by. Why is it that you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye but you don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, ‘come over here, let me take the speck out of your eye’ whilst there’s a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then, then you’ll see clearly enough to take the speck out of your neighbours eye.”
Isn’t it funny how we just want to get judgemental we’re not self aware, we don’t see that we’ve got failures. “I don’t got failures, have you got failures? No, I haven’t got failures.” Come on! And we think we’re seeing clearly but we’re not really, we’re seeing through our own weakness and failures and insecurities and hurts and … Come on the list goes on.
We see the world through those things and Jesus is saying here, “you don’t notice but you’ve got a log in your eye, your perspective’s distorted, your insecurity is making you think this is a bad person, well its not the person at all its your insecurity. Your pride and your ambition is getting in the road of you really seeing this other person for who they are. Come on; first take the log out of your own eye.”
Do you like hypocrites? I don’t, none of us like hypocrites. Well let me tell you something, if we’re caring around a log in our own eye, as much as we might deny it, as much as we might say its not my fault, its not my fault, it’s not my fault, we’re being hypocrites! And then we have the hide to go to someone else and point out that they’ve got a speck in their eye when we’ve got a log in our own. That log is our own failures, our dishonesty, our self ambition, our laziness, our pride, our insecurity, and we want to blame it on the other guy.
First have the courage to say, “You know something, I heard that joker on the radio today, I’ve got a log in my eye, you know something it’s true, this particular thing in my life is distorting my view of other people.” And then have the courage and the determination and the humility to go to God and say, “you know something God I heard this guy talking about you and I’ve a log in my eye, I don’t know how to get rid of it.”
It’s when we get real with ourselves and stop blaming other people for everything that’s going on when we’re at least half of the problem. When we get real with ourselves the thing that I found is I don’t have what it takes to get the log out of my eye, the only thing I can do is admit it and in humility lay it down and go to God and say, “Jesus set me free.” And when we do that you know what happens? Eighty to ninety percent of what other people do doesn’t hurt us anymore, isn’t it amazing? Jesus wants to set us free. Jesus wants to give us a life. He’s real!
Dealing with difficult people is all about perspective and sometimes our perspective is distorted, and sometimes, we need A Different Perspective!