Do you have difficult people in your life? How often do you wish they will change?
My prayer for the difficult people in my life is: “change them Lord!” I want them to change and stop being so impossible. Why do they irritate me so?
Recently, I came across my son’s porcupine sculpture while unpacking some boxes. It was a great symbol for the challenging people in my life. Their words can be sharp and painful. Getting close to them can sometimes mean getting hurt. As I studied the sculpture, I felt a gentle nudge in my heart, “ask me to show you how to love the difficult people in your life”. I prayed, “Lord, show me how to love them and help me love them with your love.”
The next morning during my quiet time, I read Genesis 16 and there was the definition of a difficult person. I was surprised.
Ishmael will be like a wild donkey. He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. He will attack all his brothers. Genesis 16:12 (NCV)
As I reflected on verse 12, it dawned on me that difficult people come prewired this way. Ishmael’s descendants inherited this predisposition to be difficult and continued to live in hostility with all their relatives (Genesis 25:18).
As I allowed the Lord to speak to my heart about the difficult people in my life, He showed me that they have a purpose. They challenge me to see my own gaps and in His hands they are like sandpaper to smoothen out my rough edges. I am also someone else’s difficult person.
Like porcupines, the “spiky” exterior of difficult people cover their soft vulnerable parts. Living with them requires having healthy boundaries and giving them plenty of grace. They need understanding, love and acceptance especially if we want to point them to Jesus.
The world we live in tells us to dump them and run! It is easier get someone new and exciting.
However, with God’s help, we can embrace the challenges they bring and allow God to love them through us. Embracing the difficult people in my life has taught me to pray differently…….. change me Lord, change me.
Do you have difficult people in your life? Will you ask Jesus to heal your heart and love them through you?
If we love each other, God lives in us and His love is made perfect in us (1 John 4: 12, NCV)