It’s normal to feel irritated or upset with other people, especially those who you have invested time and energy in. What hurts even worse is when the people that you love the most don’t understand all that you have done for them and can’t appreciate the way you have been faithful in their life through the years.
When anger or irritation are expressed we must remember that most of the time the person is upset with the splinter in our eye while they are ok with their beam that is in their eye. Those beams are what keeps them from seeing clearly the situation at hand. When these conflicts happen it’s critical that we respond in the most Biblical way that we can. Here are a few thoughts about how to respond when those you love the most appear frustrated with you and won’t listen to your council.
- Understand that they are not angry at you but rather their situation
Often times the irritation or anger that is expressed is more so irritation with the circumstances that they find themselves in, and when they find themselves in those situations the easiest person to take their anger out on is the one who has invested most into their lives.
I have poured hours and days and months into people and never in any moment was there concern on their part about anything we had talked about, but as soon as one situation went bad in their life, they stopped coming to church because they were upset at the pastor. I really don’t think they were upset with me as much as they were their situation, and most people are not going to say they are mad at God, so the easiest thing to do is be mad at the pastor, or the faithful friend they have in their life.
- Do your best to keep things peaceful.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Sometimes the best response in no response. Keeping peace sometimes involves letting the other person talk and then bearing their burden with them by taking it to the Lord in prayer. Sometimes its ok to have the right answer but not share that answer because the person is not in the right spirit or mind to receive the right answer.
God may be taking them through a journey where they need to see that only God is the solution to what they are facing so I will with meekness, longsuffering and forbearance love them through their difficult time as peacefully as I can.
- Forgive those who are irritated with you even if they are not seeking your forgiveness.
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Colossians 3:13)
Christ forgave us before we ever came to him for forgiveness, and when anyone points their finger at God and blames Him for anything, Christ forgives and continues to love that person and carry them through the difficult time they are in.
- Love your enemies and pray for them.
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (1 Peter 3:8)
We tend to think the love your enemy verse applies only to bad people, or people of the world. In I Peter 3:8 it says love as brethren. Brethren are those who are closest to us whether that be family, friends, or other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our family and friends are not our enemies, BUT sometimes during times of conflict it feels like they are. During those times the best thing we can do is love them and pray for them.
But I say unto you, 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; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (Matthew 5:44-47)
- Respond in Grace
Responding to others with grace means “bearing with” (or graciously putting up with) people. It means acknowledging that everyone has areas of weakness and that we all are works in progress. It means loving people in spite of their personalities, habits, and faults.
In the Old Testament my mind races to the story of Joseph. His trials were all brought into his life because of “family”, but later in life when Joseph could have gotten even or said, “I told you so” he simply showed grace.
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Colossians 4:6)