The world is filled with difficult people. It is impossible to avoid them. You try everything – confrontation, or compromise, or being passive, or even straight ignoring it. Too often these people drag you into their issues and your best attempts at making peace fail. You want to handle your relationships in a way that honors God and preserves your sanity – but is it even possible?
Difficult people in our lives are often who the Bible refers to as "fools." Dealing with fools requires a special kind of wisdom. Insights from the biblical book of Proverbs will help us with the foolish people in your life—even that fool is you.
God has made it clear: we have to have relational intelligence if we are to live the life he has planned. Learning to recognize and deal with foolish people is central. The Book of Proverbs tells us there are three kinds of people—WISE PEOPLE, SIMPLE FOOLS, and EVIL FOOLS. Simple fools are naïve and without insight, while evil fools have a character problem. Evil Fools are close-minded, spiritually lacking, and hardened. Breaking free is difficult, because these fools can be very loving…and cunning; engaging…and threatening. How can you act like Jesus, but not be pulled into the emotional undertow?
God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.
I Kings 4:29
God’s word and life show us there are Three Basic Categories of people:
1. Evil People
They enjoy conflict, bring chaos, and inflict pain.
If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.
The sensible see danger and take cover; the foolish keep going and are punished.
2. Wise People
When truth presents itself, the wise person takes it in and makes the adjustment.
Correct a wise person and he will become wiser still.
An ear that listens to life-giving rebukes will be at home among the wise.
When the truth presents itself they expect the world and the truth to adjust to them.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.