“We will always experience conflict, it is how you deal with conflict that defines your experiences in life.” Unknown author.
A man enters the bus and proceeds to yell at me because I have not left the station on time. He continued to yell at me for a few minutes finally explaining that he was left behind by another driver for only being one minute late. As the man went on and on I felt myself getting angrier and angrier until I could hardly keep my mouth shut, but then a moment of rational thought hit me and I said, “I’m sorry you had that experience,” and as I said that his entire countenance changed, he became apologetic and even nice!
When we encounter difficult people it’s good that we remember that hurting people hurt people. This man was hurt deeply by the situation and the only way he knew how to deal with it was to become angry and yell.
Usually when faced with situations like these our first reaction is to get back by responding in the same way, but to do that only exacerbates the situation.
Paul explains in Romans 12:14-21 how to deal with people and in verses 17&18 he says, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all man. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Paul is saying, even if the person does an evil against you do not pay him back with evil in return. It is our jobs as Christians to convince people Jesus is the way, you are not convincing when you act like them. Proverbs 15:1 states, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Answering harshness with gentleness usually calms a person down.
Then Paul says “Respect what is right in the sight of all men,” meaning everyone is different and has a different upbringing, to respect a person is to not insist on telling them your way of doing things. When you do this you are silently saying they are wrong and you are right, making the person not feel accepted for who they are.
Finally Paul says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Being at peace with all men means sometimes it will be up to you to be the bigger person, quietly accepting someone who is mean or hard to deal with. Jesus said in Mark 9:50, “Have salt in yourself, and be at peace with one another.” Paul explains further in Colossians 4:6 “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
God has given us the answer of how to deal with difficult people, choosing His way will cause you to experience peace in these difficult situations.
Father, help us to defuse anger and not make it worse by arguing back. In the name of Jesus, amen