Using Christian values to deal with challenging people - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Faith
March 9, 2016

Using Christian values to deal with challenging people

Does it sometimes feel like all of the challenging people in the world are getting more and more, well – unpleasant? Perhaps some days feel like one never-ending prayer for patience, tolerance and forgiveness.

As Christians, we are not exempt from difficult relationships and challenging people, but we have plentiful resources and abundant tools to call upon. Next time you’re faced with the temptation to lose it with someone who is tap dancing on your last nerve, try one of our five favorite methods of bringing Christian values into unpleasant interpersonal dynamics.

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede

Unconditional love for our brothers and sisters in Christ is an admirable goal to hold, but very few humans are able to consistently pull this off without divine assistance. If you know you're about to enter into a difficult interaction with a person or group, petition the Holy Spirit to light the path before you and touch the hearts of all involved with the spirit of receptivity and reconciliation.

2. Pray for self-control and discernment

If you have strong communication skills and are a fast thinker, it's easy to lash out in hurtful anger before you even realize you're speaking aloud. You cause a rip in the fabric of your relationship with the other that is often very hard to mend, and chances are, you feel badly about yourself for losing control.

Even if it’s in the heat of the moment, try to pause and pray for perspective and poise. If you can keep your composure, you’ll feel more dignified and better able to hear guidance about what to do and say next.

3. Diffuse the situation by depersonalizing it

Ask yourself: “Is this conflict really about me?” It could be that the other person has just experienced a horrible loss or is enduring a painful physical challenge. Try to become spacious and generous with your attention instead of contracted and self-focused. Put yourself in the other person’s situation, and open to the idea that this may have nothing at all to do with you. If you can bring some humor and levity into the situation, all the better!

4. Turn the pointing finger around

Examine your own reactions, judgments, and projections. As distasteful as it can be, we are called to look inward with as much fearless self-scrutiny as we can muster to find where we’re at fault. More often than not, the other person is mirroring something about ourselves that we do not care to claim ownership for. We keep the focus on their transgressions to avoid copping to our own.

Prayerfully search inside and ask yourself:

  • How am I contributing to the discord here?
  • Is this person reminding me of myself when I’ve done the same thing?
  • What are my true motives for my words and actions?

Performed with a genuine intent to grow and heal, this exercise in self-discovery can lead straight into self-forgiveness. Remember that God loves to forgive us when we humbly confess our faults. And once forgiven, we have a lot more spaciousness in our hearts to extend mercy and acceptance to others.

5. Pray for them

Even if sometimes you pray through gritted teeth with clenched fists, try to call upon Matthew 5:44:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Be aware that the grace with which you handle challenging interpersonal interactions might be the very catalyst that causes a troubled person to notice something “different” about you and ask, “Are you a person of faith? Tell me more about that!”

Geneva was named a Christian College of Distinction, affirming the school′s dedication to high quality academics founded on the inerrant truth of God′s word. If you feel inspired to accept the challenge of a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to explore the possibilities with you.

 

Source

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2014/march/art-of-loving-unlovable-people.html

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/8-christian-tips-for-dealing-with-difficult-people/

http://www.christiangrowthnetwork.com/difficultpeople.html