A quarrelsome person in a dispute is like kerosene thrown on a fire. Proverbs 26:21 (MSG)
How do you deal with difficult situations, when someone messes with you or gets under your skin? All too often, we seem to have one of two reactions.
The first reaction involves becoming condescending and judgmental. When we’re offended, we criticize others while justifying our own thoughts and actions. We act like we’re ‘high and mighty’ with our manmade rules and religious ideas. If we’re not careful, we can live in this state of resentment, constantly feeling bitter, indignant or angry.
When someone rubs you the wrong way, it’s important to remember that offence can’t be done to you. Offence is what you do to yourself. You get to decide how you react. As believers we need to learn to forgive and let go of offence quickly.
A second possible reaction to offense is to try to be a peacekeeper and avoid all conflict. The trouble is, peacekeeping is impossible. If we try to achieve peace by being doormats, people who always give in, we’ll never have true peace.
So, what should we do instead when we encounter challenges in our relationships? We can learn to be peacemakers. Making peace involves solving problems and speaking truth in love. It’s the only way we can work through difficult situations.
There are no perfect people—and that includes you and me. We need to learn to forgive others, knowing that there are times people will have to forgive us too. Instead of hanging on to offence or avoiding conflict, let’s ask God to help us deal with the difficult situations in our lives. He will guide you and help you to bring peace into your relationships.