M-Note 1.26.2022

3 Truths to Loving Difficult People

By Matt Miofsky
This weekend, I am finishing our series Loving People You Don’t Like. As I was reflecting on this series and how important it has been for me, I began to distill a few of the truths that God is teaching me through it all. Chances are there are some folks in your life right now that are frustrating, annoying, or outright angering you. If that is true, here are 3 truths to reflect on when it comes to learning to love difficult people:
1. It’s not about you  
I have learned that most of the time when someone does something that makes me angry or frustrated, it is rarely about me. It feels personal, but their behavior often comes from a place of pain or hurt that I cannot see. This doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it does help us to understand it and to react to it less emotionally. You have likely heard some version of the saying, “everyone is fighting a battle that you can’t see”. Last week, I sat down to pray over the written concerns that many people have left in The Gathering prayer wall at our McCausland site. As I read over the prayer requests, I was mindful of all that people are dealing with: anxiety, family turmoil, cancer, concerns over kids, and battles with addiction – all of us are struggling. As a result, we don’t often show up as our best selves. Remember that when it comes to others.

2. Pick your battles
We can’t always bottle up our frustration and stay quiet in the face of hurtful behavior. Sometimes, it is critical for our health (and the potential health of the relationship) to say something. On the other extreme, we can’t always make everything a point of conversation. Sometimes, we realize that it is our sensitivity that is getting in the way. Other times, we decide that something just isn’t worth it. In other instances, the best thing for us is to just let something go. We only have a finite amount of emotional energy, so we cannot spend it all the time on everything. Wisdom is learning which battles to pick and which to let go.

3. Boundaries are important
It is important to remember that boundaries are not mean, but they actually help us to love others better. When it comes to difficult people, boundaries are often what allows us to stay in a relationship with someone while also preserving and protecting ourselves (or our time). Jesus practiced setting boundaries all the time, and we should also.

This weekend, I will be speaking about specific boundaries that we can set when it comes to difficult people in our own lives. So, I hope you will join me in person at one of our sites or online to hear about the boundaries that Jesus set and the ones that we can learn to set as well.
Have a great week everyone, and I hope to see you Sunday!
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