Dealing with difficult people, a message by Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley is a preacher that I listen to on Sunday Morning. His message is usually a good combination of spiritual wisdom and practical guidance. I’ll illustrate this.
One morning he said four things a Jesus follower could do, and it stuck in my mind:
Apologize immediately.
Forgive readily.
Speak gently.
Give sacrificially.

He said these came from the Letter to the Philippian church written by Saint Paul. And he also said these four things can ease the tension when having to deal with difficult people.

The next day I was chatting with a fellow pickleball player while we were waiting to play.
“How was your Christmas? I asked.
“Not so good.” He looked away.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Well I was all by myself. Then my daughter called me, as expected. But only for a couple minutes. Said she had to go. Hadn’t talked with her for months. I was really disappointed.” He clenched his jaw.

I recalled Andy Stanley, and told him about the list of four things.
He was silent, then his eyes brightened. “You know, that’s really good.”
I said, “I think it’s a useful guide for dealing with difficult people.”
He looked directly at me. “Would you send me an email with those four things, so I can write them down?”

When I got home I wrote them down and posted them on my kitchen cabinet so I could see them each day. I did send an email, and the pickleballer thanked me. Once again he said that the four things were really good.

Humility definition. Re: Andy Stanley post on dealing with difficult people

I tried to find where in the Letter of Philippians these four things came from. Although I’m not sure, I suspect it might be chapter 2:
“Let each of you be concerned for not only your own interests but also the interests of others.”

I’d like to know what you think of the four things. If you have a comment, please add it into the Comment Box at the bottom of the blog.

PS: You can find Andy Stanley’s messages on You Tube – just search on his name.
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BLOG TOPICS: I write content (in-depth) blogs about a mix of topics: Science and Energy, and Inspiration and Hope, and Health and Hiking.
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The Gray Nomad ….. Put on humility, which is an ingredient of the four things.
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Complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love.
[Philippians, chapter 2.]

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Gary McFarland
Gary McFarland
2 months ago

Ian, Thanks for the wise suggested responses for dealing with difficult interpersonal encounters. For me, forgiving readily is especially important. I also have to be taking good care of my own emotional and spiritual needs as I am giving to others. Otherwise I can be giving with expectations of getting something back. I’m not giving from an already full heart then.

Ric Shields
2 months ago

Great instructions Even if not specifically delineated in Philippians, these principles are at the core of Paul’s life and ministry and should likewise be foundational principles of ours.

Ellen Wilsey
Ellen Wilsey
2 months ago

Ian, Today (2.14.21) the church sermon was the 3rd in a series called the Micah Challenge based on Philippians 2:vs.1-11. The summation of the 3 weeks aligns with your 4 principles: Do Justice, Love Mercy (kindness) and walk humbly with God. Reading your blog today reinforced this message. Thank you!

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