4 Strategies for Loving Difficult People
Including Your Family!
Sometimes it’s easier to love people outside of your family than those you are related to.
How many times have you found yourself in a tense conversation around the table during a holiday dinner?
Or maybe you’ve felt like you needed to avoid someone because you knew the discussion would likely take a turn for the worse.
Thankfully, God is revealing new ways to operate so that we can be more effective in our changing times.
These strategies are helpful to practice any time during the year, but especially during the holiday season when we spend more time with family, relatives and friends who may be more challenging to love.
1. Break through religiosity — and let go of “Christianese.”
Religiosity means acting so religious that you can’t connect in a real way with people — and they can’t connect with you either.
Christians often use their own inside language — I call it “Christianese.”
But it keeps people from being able to understand and relate. To communicate effectively, it’s important to learn the language of the people you want to reach out to.
Here are two tips to help you overcome “Christianese”
- Listen to how people outside your circles speak. You’ll often discover what metaphors are meaningful to them and different ways they think about things.
- Start reading a modern translation of the Bible,such as The Passion Translation, The Message or the New Living Translation. Look up verses that you may have memorized in a more traditional version and note new ways to say the same thing. You’ll often find fresh, inspiring ways to communicate. Make a list of phrases or ideas that you think will be understandable and inviting.
2. Allow people time to experience God.
Honor people’s process. Sometimes asking them to change too quickly will do more harm than good. Remember that one plants, another waters, but God brings the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6).
3. Separate religion from politics.
We need to remember that God’s heart is for people, not political parties.
I am politically active. I vote regularly, write to my elected officials — including the president — and pray for our leaders.
It’s good to be politically active, but lately people have tried disguising hatred toward people as “hating what they represent” … and it’s wrong.
We need to see people as people first, not their political affiliation.
4. Love people unconditionally, like Jesus did.
Remember, you do not have to agree with people — including your family — to love them. And people don’t have to agree with you in order for you to love and bless them, either!
Remember, not everyone who disagrees with you is wrong. Knowing that you’re likely wrong about a few things will keep you humble.
A great way to start loving people unconditionally is remaining kind in the face of disagreements.
What strategies have you used to be kind to people who challenge you? Share your tips below in the comments.
~ Doug Addison
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Doug Addisonis a prominent conference speaker captivating audiences with clean stand-up comedy and high energy prophetic messages, also shared on TV, radio and the Internet for over a decade. He brings laughter, fun and a unique prophetic style while empowering people to transform their lives, discover their destiny and understand dreams, tattoos and piercings. His powerful messages stay with his audiences long after hearing him.