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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - How To Handle Troublemakers

Joel Osteen - How To Handle Troublemakers

Joel Osteen - How To Handle Troublemakers

I want to talk to you today about How to Handle Troublemakers. We all have people in life that can get on our nerves and do things to aggravate us, say things behind our back. Maybe a coworker, a neighbor, a relative. Or perhaps you're sitting by them. They try to make us look bad and stir up division, it's like they're calling in life is to cause us trouble. And it's easy to get riled up, "This is not right. I got to straighten them out. They're not going to get the best of me", but most of the time it's simply a distraction. That's the enemy trying to bait you into conflict and get you off course, spending valuable time and energy on something that doesn't matter. Changing their mind about you should not be your goal. Trying to get them to like you is not your job.

And some people no matter how nice you are, no matter how good you are to them, they're not going to be for you, but you don't need them to fulfill your destiny. You don't have to have their approval to become who you were created to be. Don't let that get on the inside, you have to keep your walls up. You can't stop people from being rude, offensive, stirring up trouble, but you don't have to allow it. In the scripture says to guard your heart. There should be a secret place down in your spirit that you don't let offense in, you don't let bitterness, what wasn't fair, how they treated you, keep that out.

"Well, Joel, if they wouldn't say things that weren't true, they wouldn't be demeaning, if they wouldn't leave me out". You can't control people, you can't make them do what's right. Every time you let it upset you you're giving them your power. It's like you're putting your thermostat in their hands. You're letting them set your temperature. "Let's make them cold. Let's make them hot. Let's make them uncomfortable". Do yourself a favor, get your thermostat back.

Quit letting what they say ruin your day. Quit allowing people that have the issues, that are angry, bitter, insecure determine how you're going to live. You are responsible for your own happiness. If you're depending on what other people do to determine whether or not you're going to be happy, you're going to spend a lot of days unhappy. Why don't you make up your mind, "I'm going to enjoy this day, despite what comes against me". "Joel, this person at work gets on my nerves. They're always trying to make me look bad". Here's what I'm saying: get them off your nerves. They don't control you, you're giving them your joy.

Genesis 26 talks about how Isaac redug the wells that belonged to his father Abraham. He and his wife Rebecca had plenty of water and beautiful pastures. He signed a peace treaty with king Abimelech, everything was going great, seemed like Isaac would be so happy and so fulfilled. But the last verse of this chapter says, "Esau's wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebecca". Here Isaac had all these great things happening: favor, abundance, peace, then this one verse. There's no context, there are no details, doesn't tell us what these wives did, how they made their lives miserable. Why was this seemingly random fact included in the scripture? Wasn't a coincidence. God was showing us: if we don't stay on guard, even though we're blessed, even though we have favor, we can let people steal our joy.

Don't be surprised if Esau's wives show up in your life: relatives, neighbors, co-workers, they can get on your nerves, do things to aggravate you. Isaac could have kept his thermostat, he could have not given away his power, ignored it, but he didn't keep his walls up, he let it get on the inside. I don't want us to come to the end of life, and it be said about us: we were blessed, we had favor, but someone made us miserable, we lived upset, bitter, angry. "Well, Joel, when my boss quits being disrespectful, when my neighbor stops saying things about me, when my cousin quits leaving me out, then I'll be happy again". The fact is: they may not change, but you can change.

Get your thermostat back. Quit giving them your power. Life is too short to let your happiness depend on how someone else treats you. Don't put your happiness in their hands, you can't control what they do, but you can control what you do. Keep your walls up. You have a destiny to fulfill, there's an assignment for you to accomplish. You can't be your best if you're upset, offended, trying to pay people back. Let it go. God is your vindicator. When you ignore the negative comments, overlook the insults, have a good attitude when people are trying to discredit you, you are passing the test. God will take care of those who oppose you. He may not stop them from doing it, but he won't let it stop you.

David was 17 years old when he heard Goliath taunting the people of Israel. Something rose up in him, he went out with a slingshot, slung the rock, brought down the giant. Some troublemakers you need to confront, God will give you the grace to defeat them, but most of them are not going to go away that quickly. David defeated Goliath in a few minutes, but his real enemy was king Saul. He didn't go away, he kept pestering David for much of his life.

David went to the palace to serve king Saul, he was his armor bearer. He would play the harp when Saul was depressed and it would help bring healing, but when Saul heard people singing about how he had killed thousands, but David had killed tens of thousands, Saul became jealous. He couldn't handle David being more prominent, more revered. And some people are fine as long as you stay at their level, but when God starts to promote you, give you more honor, influence, don't be surprised if they can't handle it. They get jealous, start finding fault, being critical. If you let that in, it will poison your spirit. You'll become critical of the people that are critical of you, and it'll keep you from rising higher. You have to be mature enough to walk away. Don't get drawn into that battle, it's a distraction.

One day while David was playing the harp Saul threw a spear and tried to kill David. David ducked, it barely missed him. Earlier when David heard the insults he ran toward Goliath, he thought "I'm going to fight this troublemaker", but this time when he was disrespected he ducked, he didn't confront Saul like he did Goliath. He knew Saul was anointed by God, and he wasn't going to touch God's anointing. The principle is: you have to know when to fight, and when to walk away. You're not supposed to confront every troublemaker. They may be throwing spears, disrespectful, trying to make you look bad. Most of the time you need to duck, ignore it and move on.

David had to flee for his life, and he spent years on the run in the desert with king Saul chasing him. Wasn't fair, he hadn't done anything wrong. He could have have been bitter, angry, and "I'm going to get revenge, I'm going to pay him back", but David kept his walls up. At one point he had the opportunity to kill Saul, he could have put an end to this problem, but he wouldn't do it. He kept passing the test. How you handle people that do you wrong will determine how high you can go. If you get upset and offended, try to pay everyone back, it's going to limit your growth. But when you do like David, even when it's unfair, you stay on the high road. You keep that offense out of your spirit, you duck when you could easily fight, you are passing the test.

See, before David could take the throne he didn't just have to defeat Goliath, not just confront a troublemaker, he had to walk away from a troublemaker, he had to ignore the disrespect. To reach your destiny there will be Sauls, people that offend, people that are rude, don't give you credit. Like David, you're doing the right thing, but they find fault. That's not Goliath, that's Saul. Ignore it, don't let it get in your spirit.

1 Peter 2:23 says, "Follow the example of Christ. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. He did not threaten to get even when he was done wrong. He left his case in the hands of God". How much more peace would we have if we' start leaving our cases in the hands of God? How much more would we enjoy our life if we didn't retaliate when we're insulted, we didn't live trying to get even, we weren't frustrated over people at work that are stirring up trouble? Instead of fighting, we ducked, we walked away knowing that God is fighting for us. Are there some things you need to leave in the hands of God? People that did you wrong, what somebody said, that spear they threw that almost took you out, that coworker that cost you a promotion. Now you're stressed, blood pressure is high, can't sleep well. You're trying to solve the case, fix the case, prove the case.

This can save you a lot of heartache: you can leave that case in the hands of God. He'll make the wrongs right, he sees the spears they've thrown, he's heard the negative comments, the betrayals, the jealousy. None of that can keep you from your destiny unless you let the offense get in you, and poison your spirit. You get distracted in battles you're not supposed to fight. You don't have to retaliate, God will vindicate you better than you can vindicate yourself. This takes all the pressure off. It's very freeing when you understand: you don't have to change people, you don't have to convince them to to be for you, make them like you. Just keep taking the high road, honoring God, and he'll get you to where you're supposed to be.

1 Samuel 18:29 says, "Saul remained David's enemy for the rest of his life". It's interesting that God didn't change Saul. Saul didn't suddenly decide that he liked David, and he's going to quit trying to harm him. I don't mean to depress us, but some of those troublemakers may not change, some of the people that don't like you, say things that aren't true, that won't respect you, they may be that way their whole life. The question is: is your happiness dependent on whether Saul quits bothering you, on whether that relative quits demeaning you? You're putting your power in their hands. I'm asking you to take your power back. Quit giving them your thermostat. God didn't promise he's going to change them, but he did promise they cannot keep you from your destiny.

What God has purposed for your life is not dependent on whether they approve you, accept you, validate you. Quit worrying about what they think, quit spending time and energy trying to defend yourself. Those are distractions. You're never going to get rid of all the negative chatter, relative saying this, a coworker stirring things up. You don't have time for all that pettiness, God has put greatness in you, he is destined you to leave your mark, to set a new standard for your family. If you'll leave it in his hands, he will take care of those who are trying to stop you.

David kept doing the right thing year after year. One day Saul was killed in a battle and David was made king. It happened suddenly, David didn't see it coming. Looked like he'd be on the run for many more years, then word came "Saul's gone, and now you're on the throne". God has some of these sudden turnarounds for you. You've taken the high road, you've walked away from the disrespect, you've been good to people that weren't good to you. God saw you doing the right thing. There's about to be a shift where suddenly you're promoted, suddenly you're vindicated, suddenly that person that caused you all the heartache is no longer there. Saul is gone and you take the throne so to speak. You see favor and blessing that catapult you ahead.

A man I know worked at this company for many years, and he was very faithful, always doing more than what was required, but his supervisor was never for him. He was intimidated by him, and even in meetings he would make demeaning remarks about this man. He was passed over for several promotions that should have been his, but he never complained, did didn't talk about the supervisor. He left his case in the hands of God. He knew: this was a Saul. You can't pray away Saul. You'll defeat a few giants quickly, but most of the people that stir things up are Sauls. They don't go away overnight, these are tests that we have to pass.

One day the owner of the company flew in from another state where he lived. The supervisor was out of town. This man worked with the owner for the week, and gave him the reports that he needed. The owner was so impressed, a few months later he decided to restructure his staff. He called this man and the supervisor in, he said to the man, "I'm making you my vice president. From now on you'll run the company and report directly to me". He said to the supervisor, "From now on you'll report to him". God knows how to vindicate you. He knows how to make up for what you've been through. When you're dealing with a Saul, there's disrespect, people demeaning you, stirring up trouble, thoughts will whisper, "It's never going to change. You better get even, this is not fair". No, leave that case in the hands of God. You don't have to retaliate, God will make the wrongs right. Promotion doesn't come from people, it comes from the Lord. He lifts up one and sets down another. Let me tell you: when it's your time, no person can stop what God has for you. He will lift you up, he will promote you, cause you to go where you could have never gone.

2 Samuel 20, David was doing great, seeing God's favor, but verse one says "A troublemaker named Sheba showed up blew a loud trumpet and shouted 'we have nothing to do with David. We want no part of him. Come on men of Israel, let's all go home'". All the is Israeli men left went with Sheba, the men of Judah stayed with David. When you start to make progress, don't be surprised if Sheba shows up, there's always a troublemaker, trying to stir things up. He said, "We don't want to have anything to do with David", discrediting, demeaning, "He's not our leader, he's not king material". He talked a whole group in leaving. When David heard about it, he told his men to go find Sheba. They came to a city where he was hiding behind the walls. An older woman came out and asked David's men what they were doing there. They said, "We're looking for a man named Sheba". The woman said, "Stay right". Here she came back a little later and gave them the head of Sheba.

David didn't have to fight, he didn't have to prove to Sheba who he was, God took care of the troublemakers. With Saul, with Sheba, even with his own family. Absalom, David's son rose up and tried to take the throne, but he was defeated. When David brought the Ark of the Covenant back home he was so excited that he danced with all of his might. His wife Michal, she was offended, she said to him in disgust, "Look at what a fool you've made of yourself. Dancing in front of all the people with your leg showing? You embarrassed yourself". David could have been angry, offended, but he kept his walls up. He said, "Michal, I wasn't dancing unto you, I was dancing unto God to show my gratitude for what he's done".

Here's what I'm saying: some of your family may not understand you. They may not ever acknowledge your accomplishments or approve what you feel called to do. And like Michal, they make these comments that are hurtful, offensive. Leave that in the hands of God. Don't let it get into your spirit and cause you to live bitter and angry and critical. I'm sure David thought, "I can understand Saul not treating me right, I can understand Sheba causing me trouble, but my own son turned against me? My wife said I look like a fool"? When it's from the inside, from those we love, it can be more difficult. It's easy to get at odds with family members, they may find fault, look down on you, but be the bigger person and rise above it. Don't get drawn into battles that you're not supposed to fight. You never go wrong by taking the high road. God sees you overlooking, forgiving, being merciful, gracious, even when people don't deserve it.

The scripture (Proverbs 20:3) says, "Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor". We think winning a fight, "Let me straighten them out. They're being disrespectful, two can play at this game". No, pass that test. How you handle troublemakers will determine how high you can go. You can't pray them all away, they're going to show up a long life's journey. When you learn to keep your walls up and not give your thermostat to others, they may not ever be for you, but they won't keep you from your destiny. God will take care of the Sauls, the Sheba, the Michal, and get you to where you're supposed to be.

When Victoria and I was dating, I was driving home from her apartment one Saturday night, and it was just past midnight, and there was hardly anyone on the road. I was on this boulevard, there were two lanes on our side, and I was in the right hand lane driving about 30 miles an hour. There was a car stopped at the light in front of me in the left lane. As I got close the light changed, I kept going through the intersection, but the man in the left lane decided to turn right from the wrong lane. When he turned, I was there and boom, we crashed into each other. My heart was beating so fast, I'd never had an accident. Got out of my car to look at the damage. He was across the intersection, he got out and he's about 60 years old. He was as red as could be, so angry. He looked like he was about to explode.

He started running toward me screaming, cursing, calling me names. My first thought was, "You want some of this"? When he got closer I saw how big he was, and I changed my mind. But he screamed how I was at fault, and how I needed to learn how to drive, and how I was going to have to pay for all of this. He was pouring all this poison, disrespect, anger, belittling. The truth is: it no more bothered me. I thought, "This is not about me, you don't even know me. You're just mad at yourself because you turned from the wrong lane". I didn't give him my thermostat. I wasn't going to let him control my temperature, he's about to blow a gasket.

Couple of weeks later my insurance agent called and said they' just spoken to the man, and the agent asked me, "Was he rude to you that night, angry and demeaning, and screaming". I said, "He was". He said, "That's exactly how he talked to us". Some people are full of turmoil on the inside. They have offense, bitterness, unresolved issues, all built up. At any time if you don't keep your walls up, they'll try to pour their trash on you. You can't stop the trouble from coming, but you can stop it from getting into your spirit.

Jesus said (Matthew 5:5), "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth". Meek doesn't mean you're weak, and you let people walk all over you, you're always a doormat. Meekness is strength under control. You have the power, you have the fortitude, but you know when to use it. You don't waste it getting upset, offended, trying to pay people back. I knew: nothing I said that night was going to change his mind. I just kept my cool, overlooked it, knowing that it was going to turn out in my favor. Usually the loudest person is the most insecure person. The hot tempered, the easily upset is a sign of immaturity. The meek control their emotions. The meek don't try to prove and argue and "I'll show you", they keep their strength under control.

The apostle Paul had all kinds of people come against him. The scholars he grew up with look down on him, because he became a follower of Jesus. The disciples wouldn't accept him at first, he had persecuted the church so greatly, they didn't know if he had really changed. He had to deal with criticism, judgment, being misunderstood. He finally got so fed up with it, he said in Galatians 6:17, "From henceforth I will let no man trouble me". He came to a point where he said, "I've made up my mind. From now on I'm not going to let people get on my nerves. Not going to worry about them not accepting me. Not going to lose sleep over who's trying to discredit me. Not going to be bitter over who doesn't like me". He went on to say, "For I bear on my body the marks of Jesus Christ".

He was saying, "I've been through too much to let any person trouble me. I've been through shipwrecks, beatings, been falsely accused, been ridiculed, but by the grace of God I'm still here". But every one of us needs to have a henceforth moment, where we make this decision like Paul that no person is going to trouble me anymore. Not going to let these co-workers get on my nerves another day. They may leave me out, but I'm going to stay in peace. Not going to let that family member that's disrespectful upset me anymore, I'm going to enjoy my life despite what they say. Not going to let this neighbor keep me stirred up another day, I'm taking my thermostat back.

When you have this henceforth moment, you don't live to win people over, hope they approve you, change their mind to like you. All that pressure is off. You're free to enjoy your life, to pursue your dreams, to become who God's created you to be. But too many of us are letting the Sauls, the Shebas, the angry drivers keep us frustrated, upset, "When are they going to change"? No, here's the whole key: we have to change. We have to have that henceforth moment where we say, "I'm not going to be offended, upset, engaged in conflict that doesn't matter. I'm going to stay in peace, run my race and let God fight my battles".

Friends, today can be a turning point. Don't go the next 20 years letting the same people upset you. Start leaving those cases in the hands of God. Keep your walls up, don't let let it get on the inside. And I know, many of you have been doing this, God sees you overlooking the insult, ignoring the disrespect and being good to people that are not being good to you. Your time is coming. I believe and declare: like with David, God's about to vindicate you. Things are going to turn around suddenly. You didn't see any sign of it, but the wrong people moved out, opposition leaving, new doors opening. Promotion, restoration, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen?
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