Responding with Grace: How to Deal with Disappointing People

Everyone in our life is going to disappoint us at some point. Why? Because no one is perfect!

So, how do we deal with disappointing people? Be rude and judgemental?

Would you believe me if I told you we can respond in love? Yes, we can! The loving response to people who disappoint us is to be gentle, not judgemental.

So, how do we have tough conversations with people in a gentle way? How do we confront people when we see they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing, especially those we care about? Do it gently and with respect, not harshly or in a rude or mean way.

Here’s a little equation to keep in mind: Right + Rude = Wrong.

It doesn’t matter if you’re right. If you’re rude about it, then no one is going to care what you have to say. They’re just going to get defensive! If you want to get through to someone who has disappointed you, then you should respond in a gentle and loving way.

As a proverb says, “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

We always have a choice in how we speak to someone—especially with our kids. Have you found how deeply hurtful words can wound a child? You can scar them for years. But kind words heal and help. So when your kids mess up, don’t get on their case and tell them whatever you think they are at the moment. Give them a vision of how things could be! Speak words of life and health and hope into them, not harsh words of judgment. Be gentle.

It’s the same way in our marriages. How many marriage problems could be avoided if we just waited a beat and used words that are gentle and kind, not harsh or vindictive?

And it is the same with our colleagues. We need to learn to cut each other some slack and be kind and gentle in our speech and responses.

Let’s ponder some questions to help you put this into practice.

  1. Think of a time when someone disappointed you. How would a gentle response have diffused the problem and affected the outcome for the better?
  2. Think about the things you say every day. How much of your daily speech is gentle?
  3. When you have difficult conversations—like confronting someone about the wrong they’re doing—what helps you be gentle and respectful rather than tough and rude?

Leave a reply below and let me know what you think.

Next week, we’ll explore how to deal with people who have hurt us.

Excerpt taken from Daily Hope by Rick Warren.

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