Acting in the opposite spirit
'Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other.' Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Throughout our lives we will always be challenged by people. But God calls us to treat each other well. We won't always want to, but he reminds us to love, forgive and be gentle with everyone we meet - no matter how we're feeling. Ephesians 4:31-32 reads: 'Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you' (NIV).
We're called to react lovingly to others because we have the ultimate example of love and forgiveness through Jesus. His model is the perfect template for our treatment of others. He didn't wait for us to ask before he forgave us. Similarly, we should forgive proactively. God still holds us accountable for the wrong things we do, and challenges us when we need to be pulled up. But he does it in a caring way, with wholehearted forgiveness and understanding. We are to do the same to others.
Reality check: people are usually not trying to make our life more difficult on purpose - they may be unaware of the impact their behaviour has, or they may be dealing with something difficult in their own lives. By acting in the opposite spirit to how we feel, we are showing them God's love and could actually be bringing breakthrough for them.
So what now? Ask God to help you show his love towards your 'difficult people'. You never know the goodness and breakthrough you could bring by acting opposite to how you feel.
Soulfood: Exo 22-24, Matt 7:15-29, Ps 79, Pro 2:9-10