Leon Fontaine - Difficult People
Today, my message is gonna be called, Peacemakers and Difficult People. Don't buy this for the person you think needs it. Okay? It's not even a subtle hint. But I think if each of us learns biblical principles about relationships. Probably the question I get ask the most when we do Q&A, always has to do with relationships. What do I have to do? What don't I have to do? Etcetera. And so I'm gonna tend to hopefully get through some of those today. Now, Proverbs 26:21, we're not putting on the big screen today so just listen on and write it down. If you want to learn about relationships and you want to know how to deal with stuff. I take notes and then or get a copy of this message if you don't like taking notes because you miss everything that's being said after.
Proverbs 26:21, "As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife". All right. If you've ever tried to put out fire or if you're a firefighter here and you think you got the fire out but there's still a hot ember in that fire, a little bit of wind and that fire is right back where it was before. And we live in a world where we all wanna live in peace, but we've got a lot of people in our world who don't. So how do you live in God's peace? How do you live in a sense of love and joy when you're surrounded by a bunch of difficult people? At work, you know, with who you're driving with, neighbors. Maybe it's your mother-in-law, who knows. Maybe it's your spouse. That's a whole different message. Okay? But everywhere we go, we wanna live in God's peace. But we are going to be in a world with real people. Everybody in this church including me, there is not one perfect person in the building. So because we're not perfect. We are imperfect. Which means we serve God out of this imperfectness.
Now, the other thing to remember as I jump into some of these questions. I just kind of begin to put some questions that I get asked the most together, is you've gotta remember if you're a believer, you are a new creation. This is crucial. Otherwise, you will live like you used to live and you'll not realize that there is a stunning ability within you as a believer to live differently than you've ever lived before. I often tell the story about this person who drove a, you know, this latest Mercedes Benz four-wheel drive truck and as far as they could into the Amazon jungle. They were trying to escape from the police and they abandon it, you know, way deep in the bush. And this tribe that wasn't really used to, you know, modern conveniences found it and used it as a chicken coop. And, because they didn't know what it was.
And so they figured out. They had kind of, one window was down so they could push chickens in there, made a great chicken coop. And they kind of just put a little bit of branches across the one window that had been left opened and to them it was a chicken coop. Yeah, but it's a, you know, a hundred-fifteen, two hundred-thousand-dollar vehicle. And if they ever know how to turn the key and that thing went, and they push AC, they could actually have a fridge. And if they ever learn to push the radio, they get music. I mean, if they even learn to put it in gear and move that thing, they have the shock of their life. They have no idea what this thing is, so they just use it to what they know.
That's what you're like. You are created in the likeness and the image of God. You are so phenomenal. There are gifts and ability you've never discovered. When you give your life to Christ and you come to faith in Christ, you have a new nature. His powers on the inside of you. There's abilities you've never found. There are things that you could see. Miracles and a life of supernatural power ability, supernatural peace, supernatural joy, supernatural. Everything you've been desiring is all flowing out of this new creation. Jesus is inside of you. But Christians instead they kind of relegate themselves to begging and praying thinking God gotta do everything for them. And, although that sounds really religious and really humble. No, He's given you His power. He's placed His ability in you.
And now, you must learn to get into His Word and you can become powerful in every area of weakness through Christ who strengthens you. None of us will even, until we get to heaven and our mouth hangs open when God shows us the ability, the power, the blessing, the incredible life we could have had if we would have learned who Christ is, what He had done, and what is this new creation. You are a new creation. And I don't like religion. Many times, someone talked to me about church or religion. Gentlemen, religion sucks, I hate religion. I've gotta interrupt that. I hate religion. And they kind of go, "You're a pastor". I know. That's why I hate religion. 'Cause anytime you get religious, you get judgment. You get people judging one another, criticizing one another. I mean, looking at each other, just messing with each other. There's strife involved.
And so church can become the most painful place for a person to go to if they don't understand laf. L-A-F. So you are a new creation. You have an ability to forgive and an ability to overlook things and move on and live an incredible life. But you're living on a fallen world. This world is fallen. And therefore, there's always gonna be somebody messing with you. Proverbs 20:3 says, "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife, but every fool will be meddling". Two verses we read so far say that there are certain people who they're like hot embers. That anytime you get around them, that thing, that ember which is a hot little coal can blast into life, every time.
Now, you got a fire to mess with. It says that there are people who they need to understand to get out of strife. Stay away from strife. Stop quarreling. Stop messing with people. Because it's only fools that meddle in other people's business. Okay? If you've got friends and this is you, learned. Look straight ahead no one will know it's you. And don't hit your elbow to your spouse. He is talking to you. But there are definitely people and our lives are filled with them. We've gotta learned to get out of this. Don't meddle in people's business. It's not your job to go in there and fix their life. Who you? Jesus? You know, God doesn't say, "Oh, and you're the church cops and go find anybody you can. You'll find a problem life confront them. Look them on the face and preach at them". No. In fact, you're not supposed to do that at all. The only thing that we've got a place for another person can talk is when you are a close friend. And it says better are rebukes from a friend.
I have friends that would take a bullet for me. I've got friends who've been there for me for decades. I have friends, some in this building and others. That would just, they have labored beside me, loved me, helped me out. And if they ever say, "Leon, just a flawed I wanna show". I would absolutely put down what I'm doing, and I would wanna hear what they have to say because they know me. They love me. It's better rebukes from a friend than kisses from an enemy. And so I love having my friends. "Leon, do you ever thought about this? Or dude, what are you doing here? Like just, I wanna help you out. Close friends who love me and I love them. I love getting advice.
Now, there's others, they got advice a mile a minute. They're emailing it and blogging it and confronting me in the foyer with it. I just smile and say, "God bless you. I don't wanna talk". Because I know they're not really into, they're not talking to me because they love me. They're talking to me because they disagree. They wanna mess with me. They wanna correct me when I make things right. And none of us enjoys that kind of a person who's looked at you, judged you, found you lacking, and wants to correct you. Who enjoys that? Hands up! All right. In James 3:16 it says, "Wherever there is jealousy, envy, and contention, rivalry, selfish ambition. There will also be confusion, unrest, disharmony, rebellion and all sorts of evil and vile practices".
In the title I used the word "peacemaker" because I don't like the word "peacekeeper". Keeping peace is usually an afraid person who's fearful. Who wanna say, "Everyone just settle down. Everyone be, let's just chill out. We don't need to talk about that right now". They don't wanna talk truth. They'd rather just have peace. There is no peace when there is no truth. So how do you speak truth in this situation? Well, get off your high horse. Get off your white horse. Stop being judgmental and recognize that we speak truth and love the Bible says. And that mercy and truth have kissed. Meaning, that if you're ever in a situation, in a difficult situation between you and a family member, between you and a friend. That you're just tired of all the stress and all the strife and all the confrontation and the words that are spoken.
That in order to heal these relationships, we do need to speak truth. But we need to do it with mercy and we need to do it with love. Don't do it with arrogance. Don't do as if you're gonna fix this person. And don't even do this as if you know the whole situation. Get rid of your anger. Forgive. "Yeah, but I can't forgive until I talk to him". No, no. Him agreeing with you and working with you has nothing to do with forgiveness. Forgiveness is a heart attitude. That just says, "You know, I'm angry. I'm upset about the situation. I feel violated. I feel like this person has said things and done things. But I'm gonna forgive them". You forgiving him doesn't help them out. They're gonna be the jerk they've always been. It sets you free. It cuts the umbilical cord of pain that that situation continually brings into your life. You're literally saying, "You know what, I can't control you. I can't change you. I can't judge you. I can't criticize and make you into anything. So I just refuse to let that pain, so I just forgive in Jesus' name".
And someone will always say as a Christian, "Well, you know, if you forgive there has to be restoration". Yes and no. Things don't often have to be restored. If you've got a partner that rip you off, destroyed the company, and it cost you your life savings. It cost you your kids university money. It cost you your home, your car. And so you forgive him doesn't mean you have to go back into business with him. Hello? So sometimes we get this mix up when we think about, you know, forgiving has to be restored back. No. If there's been an abusive situation between an uncle and an 8-year-old girl. Teaching her to forgive is important. But restoring that relationship might never be done. Nothing happens there.
And so we need to understand as Christians that we sometimes, we've gotta, you know, for every mile of truth there's two miles of ditch. On one side of this we got this arrogant, condescending Christians who think they're the cops of the planet, who love pointing out sin and just being this, that nobody likes. Then the ditch on the other side is this cutie pie little Christian that want everyone to like them and won't confront anything. And don't think we should ever speak truth that doesn't matter. Let's just smile and let's just, and that's wrong, too. What was Jesus like? Jesus spoke truth. Jesus was never taken advantage of. Never! In fact, even when they crucified Him, He looked with this confidence that says, "You don't take my life. I give it to you. I could call ten thousand legions of angels right now destroy this entire place. I lay down my life for this people that I love. This is the message that you're sharing".
Jesus when you follow Him wasn't this cutesy pie little Christian that walked, "Oh, please get along everybody. Oh, I don't wanna argue". No. He wasn't like that at all. In fact, He says somethings sometimes that were bam, straight for truth. But in His heart, there was always a desire to help that person, to help the situation. And so many Christians from the ditch on one side who are sitting there shooting all the wounded. Every problem they find, they think it's their job to confront it. You know, those kind of people bug me. But so do the ones who, they just, they refuse to talk truth anytime. And so we've gotta understand what a true Christian looks like, be as Bible says that bad company corrupts good morals. If you meet someone who was always contentious, always angry, jealous, always trying to raise a problem, always messing with people. Why do you want that in your home?
The Bible teaches us, let me show. In Daniel 10:19, listen to this Word, "Do not be afraid, you who are highly regarded by God. May peace rest on you and make you whole". Did you know that without peace you'll never be healthy? Your mind will never be healthy. Your relationships will never be healthy. It is God's peace that just makes everything just go, "Ah". If you don't have peace in your mind, you'll be a stressed-out person. If you don't have peace, your body will begin to do crazy things. It will release chemicals, hormones continuously. There are people who are literally locked into fight or flight mode. The switch is always on. It never comes off. It's always shunting blood to the muscles to run or to fight. And it's never helpfully, you know, clearing up and cleaning up every organ. The strife, this stressed-out fight or flight mode all the time.
You were designed to live in peace. And when you are in peace, your body will heal up, disease will be overcome. There's not a disease on the planet that God when, "Oh, I have made the human body and I forgot to include a system that could beat that disease. What was I thinking"? Your body is designed to kill every disease, to be healthy, to go back to homeostasis by God. He designed you that way. But you gotta have peace. Now, you're never gonna have peace around you because your neighbors gonna be a jerk at times, other people driving, other people at work. They'll stab you in the back and step on your fingers as you climb the corporate ladder. As you put bids on jobs somebody else will bribe them and then get involve with money. It doesn't matter where you go, you're gonna have stuff that is filled strife. It's filled with confrontation, anger, jealousy, envy.
If you start succeeding it doesn't get better, it gets harder. Because people don't mind, people who are losing in every area. But when you start to win and rise up and succeed, the Bible actually says that in this lifetime God will bless you with a hundredfold blessing. But then it says its gonna come with persecution. Why? Because anytime you start to succeed in anything, someone will take potshots at you. Inquiring minds, they want to know everything about you. And people without a life want to criticize your life. So we live in a world that we must have peace. So do not be afraid. You are highly regarded by God. May peace rests on you and make you whole. Be strong. Be brave. So, if peace is what we need in our marriages, if peace is what we need in our families, why do we allow outside relationships to come into our marriage that cause strife.
I know married couples who will hang out with people. And it's, every time they get together, it's fighting and anger or it's gossip and talking. It's just never feel whole or healthy. It's just strife-filled person. And the Bible teaches us that, you know, bad company corrupts good moral. You're gonna need to develop a life that is choosing the friendships. That's choosing who you let into your world, because if they come in and they continually mess with your peace and you have no ability to just be able to have peace and joy and laughter with this person in your life. You need to look at the situation and you need to make the decision. Do I need to love this person from afar? And back them off, arm's length out of my life.
You'll say, "Leon, it's my brother". I don't care. "But Leon, it's my mother". I don't care. Where in the Bible does it say, "Oh, obey your mother". Leon, it does say that. Yeah, it says, "Children obey your parents". It doesn't say adults obey your parents. It says leave your father and mother, cleave to your wife. Some of the question I get asked the most during Q&A is handling in-laws, out-laws, family members, you know. And we forget that when we grow up we become adults. All of our family don't automatically get us for every holiday. They don't have to be at their house every Sunday. Mom and dad don't tell me what to do and control my -, You're free.
You honor your father and your mother. You can say no thanks and do it honorably. You can say we're not coming and do it honorably. But for some reason we have all these little pieces of wisdom that make us feel like we have to keep all these relationships going that are bringing such heartache and such hurt into our lives. And the peace is all gone, and it messes with our marriage and it messes with our kids. And we're thinking, "Well, it's family". Love them from a far if that's the case. But we live in a world where you are not God and you cannot change your mother-in-law or your father-in-law, your spouse, your friendships.
And so you have to make decisions with wisdom as to, I've got one life to live. Am I gonna live it with no peace, no joy, no happiness, because of all the difficult people that I refuse to confront in my life or speak truth to or try to work this thing out? Or am I just gonna be this person, "I'm just like Jesus who," Why are you like? One guy say, "I'm just doing what Jesus said". What did Jesus say? We gotta walk in love. Give me an example of Jesus walking in love. Where He let someone walked into His life for three years and destroy His peace, destroy -, He didn't. He didn't. So let's not be this arrogant, judgmental Christian. But at the same time, let's not be this little timid thing walking around allowing everybody to dominate you, tell you what you're gonna do, etcetera, etcetera.
So these are just a few thoughts and my time is already up. But I want to encourage you, nobody can make the decisions on your relationships except you. So don't grab something I've said today and say, "Well, pastor Leon said, so you out". The tribe votes you out. Every decision you make has got consequences and so you need to pray. You need to study God's Word. Let God guide you. You are a new creation. The presence and the power of God is within you. You have the ability to forgive and to walk in a level of peace that no man should disturb. But at the same time, you've got a marriage to build you. You've got children to raise. And you need to use wisdom as to who you let into your home and where you spend your time, etcetera, etcetera. And recognize that as a husband, as a wife, as a single parent, that you were called to walk with wisdom. Everything I've said today by the way is not wisdom. It's just knowledge.
See knowledge is the facts. It's the teaching. Wisdom is the ability to take that teaching and apply it correctly to your life. That's why I'm not saying here's four steps to remove that guy. No, no. You need to pray about this. Let God guide you. Is this the relationship we restore if we tried long enough? Have I even tried fixing this relationship by spoken truth and love? How have I handled this thing? Because every decision you make, okay, has got consequence. That could be beautiful consequence. Like one guy say, "Leon, I'm telling you we just told that person. I'm sorry we're not coming, you know". And they have conversation and say, "There's so much peace in our life. It's incredible. It was years of strife and anger and all we can have in our mind was this crazy relationship that we didn't know what to do with". Because they were related or because he was a friend.
You gotta stay close to your friends. Listen, I got lots of friends and some are doing some pretty stupid stuff. And if his boat is sinking, I'm not gonna be standing on his boat with him saying, "Get off dude. You're going down". I'll be on the dock shouting at him, "Dude, get off. You're going down". Remember, I'm not going down with him. I'm not letting his life and the culture of his life become the culture of my life. I've got Jesus. I've got His peace. I've got His joy.
Yes, we are to be reaching out to the world that needs Him. Yes, we reach out to an imperfect world. Lots of stuff is gonna go on. Walk in love, use wisdom. But at the same time be cautious who you lead into your inner circle of relationships, because their attitude, their culture, their words, their opinions, all of this has an effect on you. Recognize that you have to create the boundaries for your life. What you tolerate, you're gonna get. And what you decide to create as boundaries is when your life is gonna be going in the direction you desire it to be according to God's Word.