Greg's Notes

Handling Hardship & Difficult People

Maybe you feel as though the whole world is against you. Maybe there have been people that have given you a hard time. How should a Christian react when they’re attacked for what they believe? What if someone hurts us? Should we forgive them even if they don’t deserve it? And what should our relationship to government be as followers of Jesus Christ? Do we submit to its authority no matter what government tells us to do? There are answers to these questions and more in today’s text.

Practical Principles

  1. We should bless those who are against us. We all know people that give us a hard time because of what we believe. 2 Timothy 3:12 says, “All that live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” That’s something we wish wasn’t there, but it is there and it’s very true because every follower of Jesus will in time be persecuted in some way, shape, or form. Our reaction should be to bless those who harass, criticize, mock, and insult us.
  2. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Sometimes this can be really hard to do because you are not feeling the same way as the other person. But God instructs us to empathize and identify with those around us as a way to show our love.
  3. Try to get along with people as much as it’s possible. “As much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men. You might underline “if it’s possible.” Why? Some people are impossible to get along with. They are just cantankerous. Do your best to try to get along with people.
  4. When you’re hurt, let God settle the score, not you. Don’t avenge yourself. God says, “Vengeance is mine, will repay.” Your job it to forgive and bless your enemies.
  5. Submit to the power of government and pray for them. It doesn’t matter if you voted for them or not. They’ve been placed there by God and you’re commanded in Scripture to pray for them.

Relevant Reminders

  • When someone persecutes you, the last thing you want to do is to bless them, but that’s what the Bible tells us to do.
  • The reason you forgive is so you don’t have to live in a prison of bitterness and anger—not because the other person deserves forgiveness.
  • Don’t think like a political pundit. Think like a follower of Jesus Christ. We’re part of a bigger and more important kingdom than even the United States of America.
  • What if government asks us to do something that is contrary to what the Bible says? Stand for what is true and biblical.

Applicable Actions

We still have the freedom in America to pray openly. Let’s take advantage of that freedom. We still have the freedom in America to assemble without fear of authorities coming in and arresting us. Let’s enjoy this freedom and not take it for granted. We still have the freedom in America to openly proclaim the gospel on the airwaves, in stadiums, and on street corners. Let’s take full advantage of that freedom and not, even for a moment, take for granted the great privileges we have.