Recently, I was reviewing my day’s events and was amazed at how many people I had interacted with that day. Of course, we are daily around our immediate family or our fellow employees. But we also communicate with friends, salespeople, restaurant staff, and so forth. How we negotiate those interactions may determine whether we have a peaceful, stress-free day or become irritated, upset, and stressed-out.
As we go through life, we find that some people simply rub us the wrong way. I don’t care what they say or how they say it, their mannerisms are irritating. Maybe they don’t do anything specific, but something about them gets under our skin.
Being a Christian does not automatically cause us to love and want to get along with everyone. We all have a carnal nature to deal with. Obviously, there were problems in the Corinthian church. Paul wrote the following to them: “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you” (1 Cor. 1:10–11 NIV).
Satan wants to stir up strife in the Body of Christ. The Bible speaks about it a lot. James 3:16 says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” The Lord wants us to get along with each other. Psalm 133:1 (NIV) declares, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”
We all have certain things that are important to us. Something I value is living in a peaceful environment. Throughout my life, I have been around many people with different personalities. I naturally enjoy some personalities more than others, but I have learned to live in peace with everyone.
Let me share a few suggestions that may help you to do the same. When I encounter difficult people, I always take the high road. Colossians 3:12–15 (NLT) admonishes us with the following: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
When friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances stir up trouble, always take the high road.Lynette Hagin
Paul is reminding us of who we are. We are God’s people, and our actions should be accordingly. When responding to those who irritate us, our thoughts should be, “What would Jesus do?” Will my attitudes and actions be Christ-like?
But so many times, we open our mouth and insert our foot without thinking of the consequences. And the results can be estranged relationships for years to come. I know of families who have not talked to each other for years because of getting offended by someone’s actions. That is not what God intended. He wants us to live in peace and harmony.
When friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances stir up trouble, always take the high road. Getting even never resolves the conflict. Remember that you are not perfect either and may need forgiveness yourself.
Concentrate on the positive qualities of people rather than the negatives. In counseling couples, I often hear all the complaints about each spouse. After listening to them, I then say, “Now let’s see what positive traits your spouse possesses.” After being reminded of those traits, oftentimes they realize they have been concentrating on the wrong things.
Finally, remember that actions are more significant than feelings. It’s important to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and patience. Emotions can send us in one direction, but clothing ourselves with good attitudes and behaviors will move us in a better direction. When we respond in love instead of hostility, the peace of God will surround us and cause us to live in harmony with others.
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