Do You Have Difficult People in Your Life?
“It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Prov. 21:9 (NASB)
Okay, before I get in too much trouble with the women for starting with this famous verse, may I just say, I’ve known plenty of contentious men in my life. In fact, the more our culture moves away from the biblical principles that originally defined our country, the more we have to deal with contentious people. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th Ed.) defines “contentious” as:
- likely to cause contention ; a contentious argument.
- exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes.
In 1 Timothy 3 we find a list of behaviors consistent with a mature Christian. God’s Word tells us not to be “quarrelsome or ready to fight” – contentious. Whether it’s the hectic pace of our world, the constant influence of negative media, or the expectation that there will be Heaven on this earth, we are bombarded with opportunities to succumb to disappointment and frustration. Too often this frustration boils over into contentious behavior and even a contentious outlook on life.
Yes, even in ministry we must deal with the occasional contentious person. At such times, I think of how David dealt with the un-warranted hostility of King Saul. In 1 Samuel we read about the unrelenting and unjustified hatred Saul had against David. But we can learn from David’s example, as time and time again, he sought the Lord’s comfort and wisdom. Even in the face of constant threats and eminent danger, David was ever so patient and forgiving of Saul.
Paul reminds us to “Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” Gal. 5:16 (NASB); and carnality will disappear. Our conflict with people who show rage, uncontrollable anger, and deception is understandable and even predictable, but it is not inevitable. If we are trying to walk in the Spirit, and we have to deal with a contentious person, we can just walk away—graciously, if possible, remove ourselves from their presence. God’s Word reminds us to take the high road and leave the evil men alone.
But just maybe, you are the contentious person in your life. If the Spirit of God detects anything in us that is wrong, He does not ask us to put it right; He asks us to accept the light, and He will put it right. A child of the light confesses instantly and stands bared before God. A child of the darkness says—“Oh, I can explain that away.” When, once the light breaks, and the conviction of wrong comes, let us be children of the light, confessing our sins, and letting God deal with what is wrong. If we vindicate ourselves, we prove ourselves to be children of the darkness.
Remember, our anger and revenge only gives a foothold to the devil. Keep the faith my friends. Let’s pray for the contentious people in our lives…even if it’s you.
The Power of Truth:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Rom. 12:18
Suggestion for Prayer:
Pray for the contentious people in your life; ask God to love them through you. Ask for wisdom to know when to speak and when to walk away. Confess your own contentious tendencies and allow Him to “put it right.”