The Bible offers a number of teachings on dealing with difficult people. One key principle is to love and forgive others, even when they are hard to deal with.
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus teaches how to deal with difficult people, saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This principle is echoed in other passages throughout the New Testament, such as in Mark 12:31 and Luke 10:27. Additionally, in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells a parable about a king who forgives a servant for a great debt, and encourages us to forgive others in the same way.
Another principle that the Bible teaches is to be patient and long-suffering with others. In Colossians 3:12-13, it says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Similarly, in Ephesians 4:2, it says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
The Bible also teaches that we should not return evil for evil. In Romans 12:17-21, it says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Finally, the Bible teaches us to pray for difficult people. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” In James 5:16, it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Examples from the Bible of how to deal with difficult people include:
- Jesus forgiving and loving the crucifiers on the cross (Luke 23:34)
- Joseph forgiving his brothers for selling him into slavery (Genesis 50:19-21)
- David’s forbearance and humility in facing King Saul (1 Samuel 24:5-15)
- Jesus healing the ear of the high priest’s servant (Luke 22:51)
- Jesus interacting and showing compassion to the people society deemed as outcasts and sinners (Matthew 9:9-13, Matthew 8:5-13)
These are just a few examples of the many teachings in the Bible on dealing with difficult people. The overall message is one of love, forgiveness, and patience, and to show the same compassion, kindness, humility, and gentleness to others that we ourselves would want to be shown.