Some people always want their own way. They’ve got a right way and a wrong way to do something, and your way is always the wrong way. When you don’t meet their standards, they’re going to let you know about it. And it always seems you can never quite please them.
So how do you respond to demanding people?
A proverb tells us that patience comes from perspective: “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” The more you understand a person—their background, battles, and burdens—the more patient you’re going to be with them.
We often look at people and think, “Look how far they have to go.” But we don’t stop and say, “I wonder how far they’ve come?”
Maybe they were raised in a family where they had no model of kindness or courtesy. Maybe they grew up in a very dysfunctional home, and it’s a miracle, really, that they made it this far.
What are the burdens they’re carrying? They may be sick. They may have a family issue. There are all kinds of battles and burdens people carry that you and I don’t know about.
The proverb tells us to overlook offenses. Do you overlook offenses, or are you offended by offenses? Are you so touchy and irritable that you’re offended by anybody who looks at you funny or forgets to say something or doesn’t see you? Love lets it go.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Love is understanding, not demanding—and it’s what you would want others to do to you when you’re having a bad day or don’t feel well or are carrying heavy burdens.
Does that mean you’re just supposed to let people run over you? Do you just let them push you around? Do you act like a doormat, cave in, and let them say whatever they want?
No. Here’s the key: Be tender without surrender, yet do not let demanding people push you into a corner. That’s what you call love in action.
To help you put this into practice, let’s ponder some questions:
- Think about a demanding person that you encounter regularly. What do you think that person might be struggling with? If you’re not sure, consider taking the time to ask them. How does considering their struggle change your perspective, attitude, or response to them?
- Why do you think it’s so hard for us to overlook an offense? Why do we often have to have the last word?
- What would need to change about your response to people to be tender without surrender?
Leave a reply below and let me know what you think.
Next week, we’ll explore how to deal with disappointing people.
Excerpt taken from Daily Hope by Rick Warren.