“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, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:44 (NKJ)

If you’ve been around long enough, you would have encountered people who are not the easiest to work or get along with. They just can’t help but rub you the wrong way. This type of people fall into two categories namely, those who rub us the wrong way, but mean us no harm and those who have the same effect on us and are actively also seeking to harm our interest. So how do we respond to these people?

First, understand that difficult people can often be great blessings in disguise as they are sometimes God’s way of building up our character as God prepares us for the greater end He has in store for us. The reality is that it costs us nothing to be nice in return to those who are nice to us. However, it is a different kettle of fish for those who are occasionally or consistently horrible to us. In this case, the bible encourages us to seek to be at peace with all people. Heb 12:14. Consequently, such people are opportunities to deepen our love walk with God and particularly man and also take on more of His character in our lives.

Consequently, it will require more than ordinary platitudes on our part to pray for those who are deliberately making our lives a misery. However, when you do, you are essentially imitating your perfect model, Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who prayed for those who mocked and crucified Him on the cross of Calvary. If He could do it, so can you. After all, those He prayed for were the very people who inflicted the worst pain on Him and more than you can ever imagine or experience.

So, if you work for a boss from hell or with a colleague who somehow believes that his calling is to put you down, why not allow God to build you up and make heaven out of a hellish situation? One thing that no man can take from you is your attitude. A godly attitude to persecution is the guarantee of His interference on your behalf. So, the responsibility for your response is always yours. Choose to respond positively to your difficulties and you will be the better for it.

Second, see it as an opportunity to reach out and demonstrate the love of Christ to such difficult people. The reality is that those who go out of their way to hurt others are themselves, more often than not, seriously hurting. Consequently, their hurtful actions might, in a weird way, actually be a cry for help. So, at the right time and in the right way and also through your kingdom lifestyle, God can use you to break through their blindness and administer His ‘Balm of Gilead’. If you return hurt for hurt, how will you be able to help find a solution to the root cause of their problems? Two wrongs can never make a right. They only multiply the problem. So, determine today to show that you are indeed the son/daughter of your Father in heaven. Make Jesus proud of your conduct today and always.

Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you and my mind on your word, so that I can be like you in thought, word and deed. Let my conduct show your grace and not disgrace your name in Jesus name. Amen.