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.
Sometimes the fool is our spouse, child, sibling, or parent. How difficult is that? Except when we are very angry, we make excuses for that person. We can’t consider labeling them a fool. We spend lifetimes trying to make them look better. It is hard to admit that it will never work. We have to do something different. You can give up the strategies that will never work and always leave you defeated. You can put away childish things. You can speak the truth in love. You can untangle from the dysfunction. You can overcome evil with good.
A love relationship with a fool is generally characterized by childish behavior on both sides.
When I was a child, I used to speak as a child; when I became a man, I put away childish things.
I Corinthians 13:11
Man means adult, mature person
How do children speak?
They say whatever they think, whenever they think it, to whomever they wish, without considering the effect.
An adult has awareness than his or her words have power, and carefully controls their speech.
Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.
How do children think and reason?
They think about themselves and what they can get for themselves.
An adult is willing to consider others’ needs and other ways.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.
I Corinthians 13:4
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
A new strategy for the old battle:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
The goal of seeking wisdom is not to change the other person, but for you to become a holy, healthy, happy functioning person.
Turn away from evil.
Turn away from evil…
Overcome evil with good
.…and do good.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
Speak the truth
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
If you are ready to follow, God will lead you.