Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matt 21:21 NIV).
I want to address the issue of impossible, ridiculous people. I know all things are possible with God, and if we ask, we will receive whatever we ask in prayer. But all things aren’t possible with those who aren’t filled with Jesus. And lately, those are often the kinds of people I’ve experienced.
After my husband died three years ago, and my life as I once knew it fell apart, I had to get honest about some of “those” people in my life.
I realized after several poorly attended pity parties, binge eating, binge-watching, and binge crying (that’s a real thing. I promise it is) I’d had enough. Certain people weren’t fixable. It did me no good to confront them over their bad behavior, abusive nature, lack of support, and judgment.
Concluding that it wasn’t my duty to fix the impossible, ridiculous people in my life gave me great relief. Through the grace of time and prayer, God revealed to me that my role is to be obedient to Him in how I behave and act to “those” people.
Do you know what I did? I backed away. In some cases, I severed unhealthy relationships to protect what bit of sanity I had left.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting we run out and get a divorce or cut off every family member who upsets us. Most of those issues (unless we’re talking physical abuse) can be resolved with a Christian counselor, prayer, and lots of chocolate.
What I’m suggesting is this: amputate toxic relationships from our lives. There I said it. Cut it off. Do it graciously and lovingly but do it, nonetheless.
We must first pursue peace with God and guard everything that seeks to interfere. Therefore, if there’re relationships in our lives where “those” people refuse to pursue peace with us, then we may be better off loving them from afar. Even if it’s for a time—sometimes apart is better.
We have examples of this in the Bible. For instance, it was clear that Paul and Barnabas had their issues. Acts 15 tells us these men had a “sharp disagreement.” That’s an excellent way of saying they weren’t good together. Those brothers were about to start rumbling, so they took a break from each other. I’m happy that they eventually worked through their relationship because later in the Bible, we find that they were working together again.
The truth is, as Paul and Barnabas, we must pursue being the person God wants us to be regardless of how others react. That doesn’t always mean something as drastic as an amputation. It may mean taking a break from “those” people as we grow in maturity and our relationship with Christ.
Here are a few scriptures and tips I’ve learned along the way to assist us with the process of dealing with “those” people:
Trust God’s Word “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. Pray and ask God, “what am I doing wrong”
and to “teach me to communicate, so there are fewer chances of being misunderstood” (Psalm 27:11 NIV).
Follow God’s Ways “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. Even when we feel as if the world hates us and we’re alone, we must encourage ourselves with the reminder that God is always with us” (Psalm 142:3 NIV).
Depend on God’s Faithfulness “The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” We must trust in God’s faithfulness to us by focusing on what is correct and acceptable in his eyes” (2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV).
Every aspect of this walk with God isn't going to feel good. It can be a downright struggle. Nothing about the premature death of my beloved spouse felt good. Neither did the abandonment nor abuse I suffered at the hands of others. Yet, I’m reminded that we must stand on Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).
Despite the difficult times and people, we must trust the process that God has put in His word, and we’ll run and finish this race victoriously!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your presence in my life. I thank you for your protection from the fiery darts that sometimes come in the form of “those” people. If I’m one of “those” people, please reveal it to me and help me pursue peace. I ask you to wrap your arms around everyone who feels hurt and alone. In your precious son’s name, Jesus Christ! Amen!
Your turn: Do you have any of "those" people in your life? If so, what're planning to do about it? Have any words of encouragement or advice for us? Let us know, we'd love to hear from you.