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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Dealing With Difficult People

Joel Osteen - Dealing With Difficult People

Joel Osteen - Dealing With Difficult People
TOPICS: 15 Ways to Live Longer and Healthier

It's something we all face. That person at work who has a way of getting on your nerves. An offended friend who gives you the silent treatment. A neighbor who hasn't been acting very neighborly lately. Difficult people. We all have to deal with them. But how you handle these challenging relationships will determine the quality of your life. If you treat them the way they treat you, you'll get stuck. If they're disrespectful and you're disrespectful back, that will keep you from going further. Our health and happiness is often affected by our outlook. The scripture tells us, you overcome evil with good. You never overcome disrespect with more disrespect. You never get ahead by doing to others the wrongs they've done to you. You can't control how everyone treats you, but you can control how you respond.

When someone is rude, you don't have to get upset. When they cut you off in traffic, that day doesn't have to be ruined. When a co-worker leaves you out, you can stay in peace knowing that God is fighting your battles. When you take the high road you'll enjoy your life more. You'll see God trust you with more influence and more favor. Sometimes we trained ourselves to respond a certain way. If that person says this, I'm going to get upset. My crazy uncle makes fun of me one more time, I'm going to tell him off. The problem is, you're letting them control you. Why don't you take your controls back. Jesus said, stop allowing yourself to get upset. Someone can't make you get upset. You have to give them permission to upset you. You have to make the choice, I'm offended. I'm discouraged. I'm sour.

The next time someone pushes your buttons, just smile and say, not this time. I'm staying in peace. I'm going to protect my heart, my mental well-being. I'm going to enjoy this day. You have to be the one to say, I'm going to make some adjustments. I'm going to keep myself healthy. I'm going to make sure I'm taking care of my emotional well-being. Taking care of this temple that God has given me. Your flesh is the easy way to live. You don't have to be disciplined. You just do whatever you feel like doing. Someone's rude to you, you be rude back to them. When someone does you wrong but you choose to forgive, the flesh will have a fit. "Come on, get even. Pay them back. This is not right". Even now when I get stuck in traffic that impatient tries to get back on the throne. It wants to dictate my life.

That's why Paul said to the Corinthians, "I die daily". Paul is one of the heroes of faith. One of the most prolific writers of the New Testament. You would think he was so powerful, so mature, he wouldn't have to deal with these issues, yet, he said, "Every day, I have to take my flesh off the throne. Every day I have to put down carnal desires". The scripture says when you're good to your enemies it's like keeping coals of fire on their head. You would think if we treat our enemies the way they treated us, that would be a good payback. But the real way you see favor and blessing is when you bless your enemies. When you're good to those that are not good to you. Not only will you rise higher, but God will deal with those that are not treating you right. He knows how to use those coals of fire. He can take your kindness and work on their heart, make them think differently about you.

In the scripture, the believer is referred to as an eagle several times. The prophet Isaiah said, "You will mount up with wings like eagles". It's significant that God chose an eagle. An eagle can fly at altitudes of 10,000 feet. Crows, on the other hand, can barely fly at 1,000 feet high. They're the natural pest to the eagle. Although the eagle is bigger and stronger, the crow is more agile. It can turn quicker and maneuver faster. And sometimes to annoy the eagle, the crow will follow right behind the eagle pestering it. Trying to cause it trouble. The eagle could turn around and try to fight, thinking I'm bigger than this crow. I'm gonna show him who I am. Instead, the eagle simply flies higher. The crow can't go as high as an eagle can.

As the eagle soars, the crow eventually falls away. You may work with a few crows. You may have a few neighbors or family members who are crows. You can never stop the crows from crowing. Just like you can't stop the grouchy neighbor, the critical co-worker from being rude. Offensive. Disrespectful. But you can spread your wings and rise higher. You can overcome evil with good. You can bless those who curse you. You can forgive those who hurt you. You can rise to new heights that you've never imagined. Quit being frustrated by the crows. Those are distractions trying to get you off course, wasting time and energy that you need to pursue your own destiny. There is no shortage of unkind chatter these days.

With social media, people can express their negative opinion so easily. They'll tell you how to run your life, how to spend your money, how you should raise your children. That's just crows being crows, making all kinds of noise. The only power they have is the power you give them. If you start letting their words get in you and dwelling on those insults, that will poison your spirit. Over time it will change who you are. You'll become defensive. Argumentative, angry. That will affect your heart and your health. You have to rise above that. Don't fight a battle that was never yours to fight. Don't let that poison get in your spirit. You have a destiny to fulfill. God has given you the gift of life. He could have chosen anyone to be here at this time. He chose you and me.

Let's make the most of this day. Instead of living offended and upset, it's time to get focused. It's time to tune out all the negative and to run your race with purpose. Psalm 45 says, "God has anointed us with the oil of joy". When you walk in your anointing, there is an oil on you to which nothing can stick. You're like a teflon pan. When you're disrespected, when people say hurtful things, the good news is, you have a no-stick anointing. Offenses slide right off you. A co-worker leaves you out, plays politics, you could get angry and offended, but you have the oil of joy. You just let it go. Someone's rude to you. You could give them a piece of your mind. But you're like that teflon pan. It slides right off. You go on and enjoy the day. You weren't created to hold on to offenses, to disrespect, to hurtful words. The next time something happens that could upset you, instead of responding the same way that you have in the past, try a different approach. "Father, thank you that I've been anointed with the oil of joy. I'm going to stay in peace. I'm going to focus on my goals, knowing that you are fighting my battles".

I found that I'm at my happiest and healthiest when I'm with people who inspire me to pursue God's best. My wife, Victoria, is an incredible voice of wisdom and encouragement in my life and in the lives of so many others. I wanted to sit down with her and discuss some of these strategies that have helped our church, our family, and our relationships grow stronger and healthier over the years.

Victoria Osteen: You know, we're talking about dealing with difficult people in our lives. I can remember a time that there was someone in my life, and it just seemed like anything that I did, they were never happy. It felt like they just didn't like me. I wanted so bad for them to like me. I remember trying to go out of my way to compliment them, to try to make them see the best in me. It just never worked. It never worked. I remember one day coming to you, going, "Joel, I've been doing this and this person never responds to me. They never want to be nice to me". I'll never forget you told me, "Victoria, you can't be a doormat to someone. You can't just sit there and let someone walk all over you. Yes, be respectful but you just take yourself out of that situation and quit trying to make them like you".

When you said that to me, I thought, okay, okay, I'm gonna do that. It wasn't that I was being disrespectful. When I saw that person I would say hello and smile, but I just didn't try to just cater to them so much. And my life changed. It really did. I realized I was putting myself out there, but they were never going to reciprocate to me. The way did I that was just remove myself from the situation. You know what, years later, I realized that person has come around. And I feel good about myself because I was never ugly back. I was never the same way to them as they were to me. And for some reason it made me feel like I was pleasing to God. It made me feel like I did something that was good for my soul. And I think that is what we're talking about today, just trying to keep your soul healthy and realize, you have to live with yourself. You have to be the one to answer to yourself for all the things you've done. All the things you've tried to do. I just think that was very freeing when you told me I didn't have to continue to be this person that they would just walk all over.

Joel Osteen: Yeah, I think sometimes we're expecting people to be perfect. We want them to be always kind and loving. But, everybody has issues. We all have issues. Sometimes they are not going to treat us the way they should. I even think about that friend we knew, every time she went to a family gathering with her family and relatives, there was somebody there that would always get on her nerves or say something hurtful, and she said to her husband, "You know what, this is your family, you have to take up for me. You have to set him straight. You have to get him to quit doing that". This man was very caring, but he said, "I'm sorry, honey, I can't do that. I can't make him treat you right. But I can encourage you to not let it offend you. To quit giving away your power".

I think that's something that's so important is that, when we let other people irritate us, when we let them get on our nerves, we are giving them our power. I heard somebody say, "Don't put your thermostat in somebody else's hands". Get your power back and realize like you do, we have to rise above this. We talked about being an eagle and recognize people, if they don't perform perfectly, that's okay. My dad used to say this. This is a little different twist on it. He said, "Give everything room to have a bad day". I know somebody who can have a bad month or a bad year, but sometimes you got to say, I'm going to overlook it. I'm going to rise above it. I'm not gonna let what they said or what they didn't do offend me today. It's back to that, like you said, keeping our soul healthy.

I think sometimes we're trying to get away from difficult people or to change difficult people. But, the bigger thing may be to say, "God, how can you change me in this situation"? Meaning, "Okay, I'm not gonna get upset. I'm not gonna be offended. I'm gonna overlook". Even like you said, that's very important. Sometimes you take yourself out of the situation. You don't keep putting in yourself and trying to get somebody to like you that's never gonna like you. There are these different things where we have to look inside and see how we're dealing with it and say, "I'm not gonna let people, circumstances, whatever comes my way, I'm not gonna let it steal my joy today. I'm going to rise above it and be that eagle".

Are you letting things upset you that don't have to upset you? Are you giving away your power? Letting what others do determine whether or not you're gonna be happy today? If so, you need to take back control of your happiness. Quit putting it in someone else's hands. If you're only gonna be happy when other people treat you kindly, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Don't give away your power. You have to make up your mind that no matter what people do, no matter what they say or how they treat you, they're not gonna steal your joy. Be like that teflon pan and let those offenses slide right off you. Back when I worked behind the scenes in television production at Lakewood, I was in an electronic store to buy some parts for our equipment. The man at the counter was on the phone. And was not in any hurry to help me. He could see me standing there. But he went on talking for another 15 minutes. When he finally hung up.

I asked him for the part that I needed. He looked at me and said, "We don't carry that part. We never have". I told him that I had purchased it there many times before. His face got real red. Looked like he was about to explode. He used several curse words before saying, "I told you I don't have it. Now don't ask me for it again". I just smiled and said no problem. Have a nice day. I didn't mean it, but at least I said it. I had to make this choice. Was I gonna let his poison get in me, pollute my day, sour my attitude? Or was I gonna be that teflon pan and have that no-stick anointing? I decided to let it go. You can control how you respond. The most powerful thing you can do is let it slide right off.

Don't give it the time of day. Don't think about it anymore. Don't relive it. Don't call your friends, tell them what was said or what was done. Keep your heart pure. Save your emotional energy to live the day to the full. To pursue your dreams, to love your family, to be good to your neighbors. When someone is rude to you and offensive, don't take it personally. Stay oiled up and move on. David learned this lesson in Samuel 25. He and his 600 men had been living out in the wilderness to keep away from king Saul and his soldiers. A man named Nabal lived in the city of Carmel not far from David. He was wealthy with thousands of sheep and goats. But it also says, Nabal was a mean man. He was dishonest, hard to get along with. By just being around Nabal's property, David and his men had been like a wall of protection from invaders. They were good to Nabal. They kept him safe. One day David sent messengers to Nabal asking for food since they had been protecting his family and flocks.

You would think that Nabal would show gratitude towards David for watching over him. Instead, he was very rude. He said, "Who is this man David? I never asked him to do anything for me. I don't owe him a penny. Tell him to forget it. I'm not gonna give him anything". When David heard that, he was furious. He told his men, "Strap on your swords. We're gonna go take care of Nabal". Surely as I live, not one male of Nabal's household will be alive by this time tomorrow. David was so wrought up in his emotions that he didn't realize, this was a battle he wasn't supposed to fight. How many times do we fight a battle that was never intended for us to fight? Just because we're offended, like David, it's our flesh getting riled up, wanting to take matters into our own hands. Instead, we're supposed to let it slide off. Not dwell on it.

Trust God to be our vindicator. Thankfully, God showed mercy to David just as he does to us. While David and his men were riding towards Nabal's house, Nabal's wife, Abigail, intervened. Abigail was a wise woman. She loaded up enough food and wine to feed all of David's army. When she met him, she bowed down low and said, "David, my husband is a fool. He's hardheaded, hot-tempered, dishonest. He shouldn't have insulted you. I brought you these gifts hoping you'll forgive him". She went on to say, "David, you're called to be the king of Israel. Why would you waste your time with this stubborn man. Don't let this needless battle be a blemish on your record". Abigail spoke wisdom into David. She was saying, "David, look at who you are. You're the next king. God is going to entrust you with an enduring dynasty. But you're about to blow it by taking revenge on this fool".

Finally David came to his senses, said, "Abigail, the Lord God of Israel surely has sent you to me today. For, if you had not kept me from carrying out vengeance with my own hands, not one in your household would be alive". We're all gonna encounter Nabal's, people who are rude, hard to get along with, offensive. I'm asking you what Abigail asked David. Why are you fighting with a fool? Why are you in conflict with someone that's not goin' anywhere? Why are you upset with that person who cut you off if traffic? You don't even know them. Why are you offended with that co-worker? They're not between you and your destiny. They can't stop what God has planned for you. They don't like you. Make negative comments.

Leave you out. That's a test. You can't reach your destiny without dealing with difficult people. Don't get distracted. Baited into conflict. Fighting battles that don't matter. Be like that teflon pan. Don't let any of it stick. God has an awesome future for you. But like with David, the enemy will work overtime to try to get you distracted. Offended, trying to pay people back. Don't take that bait. Later when Abigail's husband died, David remembered her kindness and wisdom. He sent word asking her to become his wife, come under his protection. She agreed. When you let God fight your battles, you'll come out better than you were before. Don't let people get you upset and offended. Stay focused and stay in peace. It's one of the keys to living a longer and healthier life.

An abundant life starts on the inside and works its way out. You should be your biggest encourager because your happy, healthy life can't happen without you. Here are some words to live by. Every day, I choose joy. God has me in the palm of his hand. I never have to worry. As a child of God, I am unoffendable and quick to forgive. I forgive because I am forgiven. As the scripture says:

I am strong in the Lord and the power of his might.

in all circumstances, I will bless the Lord, for this is the day he has made.

God is on the throne. He is ordering my steps. He is providing for my every need.

I can surrender my worries, my burdens, and all my cares into his hands.

I look forward to tomorrow, but embrace the present.

I have grace for today, and God will give me grace for tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

I'll fight for those who cannot fight for themselves because my God fights for me.

my rest comes from God. He is the one who restores my soul.

I am who God says I am, and I will reach my full God-given potential no matter what comes my way. I have everything I need to live an abundant life.

Today maybe I'm the voice of Abigail for you. Maybe God sent me to remind you to not let difficult people bait you into conflict, steal your joy, cause you to live frustrated. Spend energy on things that don't matter. You have to make up your mind that difficult people are not gonna control you. You're not gonna let them offend you, upset you, push your buttons. Start rising above that. If you do this, I believe and declare, you're not only gonna enjoy life more, but you're gonna see justice, promotion, favor, breakthroughs. God will take care of you and see you to your destiny. I hope you'll join me next time as we explore more ways to live longer and healthier. My prayer is these strategies will help you make a real change that lasts. Not just for a week or a month, but for the rest of your life.
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