March 24, 2011

Part 2-Extra Grace Required-Jesus on Difficult People

Jesus dealt with lots of difficult people.
When you read the New Testament you will notice that Jesus was constantly surrounded by difficult people of every degree.  People who didn’t understand, who didn’t like him, who were threatened by him, and who were even trying to kill him.  Jesus never reacted violently to the difficult people in his life.  Could you imagine what would have happened if he would have reacted violently?  If he would have commanded his angels, or if he would have flexed the muscle of God, or if he would have commanded the elements of nature, or unleashed the torrents of hell?

Jesus would have been one bad dude!  No one would have messed with him.  But as it was, Jesus restrained himself.  He did not become violent or careless.  But Jesus wasn’t a doormat either.  He confronted his enemies.  But intead of confronting them with swords, daggers, threats, or insults, Jesus confronted his enemies with a forceful mixture of grace and truth.  He didn’t muddle up grace with passivity, or truth with violence.  Instead, he brought grace and truth together in perfect harmony and delivered one devastating, paralyzing blow after another to the difficult people in his life.

Jesus has a lot to teach us about dealing with the difficult people in our lives.  But we must consider his overall way of life and the sum total of all his teachings in order to develop an effective strategy for handling difficult people.  To accomplish this I want to introduce you to a simple concept that captures the essence of Jesus' effective behavior when dealing with difficult people.

Let me begin by saying that our behavior is critically important.  Our behavior toward people really does influence their behavior toward us.  More often than not, our behavior with difficult people determines whether that person will continue being a difficult person.  There are two dimensions of behavior that we need to be concerned about all the time.

More tomorrow...
Yeah, I know today's post is pretty short... but I am curious what 2 dimensions of behavior YOU think we need to be concerned about in light of how we treat other people while trying to follow Jesus' example?

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