Dealing With Difficult People At Church
May 7, 2008 36 Comments
No doubt we have all probably had to deal with difficult people at church. The question is how is best to do it. We don’t want the situation to escalate but sometimes it can’t be avoided. I faced such a situation tonight. I would appreciate any feed back on the way I handled it.
At my church there is a lady who always seems angry. She is known to be quick with snide comments and to take everything personally. Anytime a comment or decision is made that she disagrees with she takes it as a personal attach and is quite vocal about it usually. My wife and I have been the target of her comments for some time now. Tonight was another instance of her making a snide comment directed toward me and my wife and I decided I had had enough. It was time to deal with the situation.
I will admit that I was very angry. I decided that it would not be appropriate to address the issue with the lady unless her husband was there when I spoke with her. I know that if another man was going to have words with my wife I would be upset if he did it when I was not there so I waited until they were both available. We then went into a room where we had privacy. I explained to the husband why I had asked for them to speak with me. Then I addressed the issues directly with the woman. I was able to control may anger (I don’t usually have a problem with that but I was not sure I would be able to do so before we began). I chose not to beat around the bush…I explained what she had been doing and explained that I was no longer going to tolerate it. I expressed that we needed to learn how to communicate together when we had an issue with each other instead of the snide comments. I also explained that my desire was not to have divisions in the church because the church body would be hurt if that happened and the church was more important than our differences. During the discussion the husband remained silent until the end and at that point my anger had subsided and we actually were able to reach an agreement (at least that is the way I felt…only time will tell if they felt the same). We were able to pray together before we left.
Now for my questions. How have you dealt with difficult people? What did I do right and what did I do wrong? We are fallen people so conflict is going to happen sometime but we must deal with it in a manner that does no damage to God’s family…if possible. My desire is to learn from this situation and your advice so that I am that much more prepared the next time this type of thing is necessary. I probably should have included my wife in the discussion…in fact I apologized to her for not including her once we got home and were discussing it. Other than that, I am actually pleased with the situation.