10 Steps to Loving Hard-to-Love People
By Dr. Linda Mintle – Therapist & Author
We all have someone in our lives who is hard to live with or whom we consider to be obnoxious. You know, the person who growls when any little thing goes wrong or maintains a frown when others are laughing. You just want to shake them and say, “Come on, lighten up and be nice!”
As you encounter friends or family members who are not always so loving, try these 10 suggestions:
1. Resolve issues that have built up and have caused resentment. Avoidance just leads to anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness. I know it is not easy to confront someone when you have relationship problems, but you can’t solve those problems if you don’t at least try to resolve them.
2. Remember the good moments. Do not deny problems, but balance negatives with positives. Force yourself to think about the good times.
3. Do something enjoyable together in order to build positive memories. You may not want to do this, but we begin to like people more when we spend time with them and do something that creates a positive experience.
4. Control your tongue. It has the power of life and death, according to the Book of James. Use your tongue to build up another person even though you could easily focus on the negative. What you say impacts how you feel.
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” Galatians 6:7
5. Pray for those who irritate you. Ask God to give you His heart for them. We are to bless those who curse us! I admit, this is not natural, so use the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in you to move you to intercession.
6. Love people as yourself. Jesus loved his enemies and prayed for those who hurt him. His message is to love the difficult person with his supernatural love.
- Consider the biblical principle — what you sow, you reap (Galatians 6:7). Do unto others as you would have them do to you. It’s the golden rule!
8. Forgive often and do not hold on to an offense. The best way to prevent bitterness towards another person is to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice that you make.
- God’s grace is a gift; offer it to others as well. As you have been forgiven, God forgives you because of His grace. Extend grace to those who are difficult.
10. Read 1 Corinthians 13 as a true reminder of love. “Love is patient, kind, does not envy or boast, keeps no records of wrong, hopes and never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). We need the love of God to love each other well.
Today, choose one of the 10 ways to deal with a difficult person and give it a try. See if you can begin to love those who are not so lovely. That is our challenge!
And remember, people are usually difficult because of difficult times in their lives. If you can extend grace to those who don’t deserve it, you will be imitating Christ.