I am going to blog for the next few weeks on something I know is dear to your heart because it is dear to everyone’s heart, and that is: how do I handle difficult people.
One of the biggest keys to handling difficult people is to know when to fight and when not to fight. Jesus talks clearly about counting the cost before starting a fight. That is great wisdom which we should all take on board. I have seen many pastors start a building and never finish, I have seen many people start a fight they could never win.
When David was encountered by the king of Gath he was scared of the king, and knew he could not win a direct combat against him, so David pretended to be mad to escape the fight.
You see every time you fail, you demoralize the people around you. Failure, like success, creates an atmosphere. For example, there are times people have said things about me or done things to me and I could legitimately take them to court. I never will, because I know when I will not win a fight.
I was once asked to appear on a large Christian TV station, and do a debate programme about healing. I was happy to do it, I believe in healing and I want the world to know about healing. But as I talked to the network and the people making the TV programme, it was clear that the adjudicator of the programme was anti-healing. He kept calling me a fanatic, an extremist, and so on. Listen – I am not about to waste my time playing a game of football when the referee is a player for the other team. You will be off-side every time you are about to score. You will get penalties against you for no reason.
I bowed out, I have other things to do with my time!
One of the battles that is very rarely one is the winning over of a betrayer. Jesus never went to counsel Judas Iscariot. It wasn’t worthy of His time. When someone wants to leave our church or resign, I will not ask questions, I will not try and change someone’s mind over an issue like that. It is a waste of our time.
Pick your battles carefully.