The book of Proverbs tells us that there are many different kinds of people that we will encounter. If we are wise, we will be careful to discern the type of person we are dealing with and we will select the appropriate approach to that person.
Proverbs 9:7-9 says that ‘whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer or he will hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”
How can you tell what kind of person you are dealing with? You can tell by their demonstrated behaviour. How can you tell what their future behaviour will be like? Simply look at their past behaviour. This becomes the most clear when someone is receiving correction because something in their behaviour needs to be tweaked. If the person attacks and causes injury, then they have a pattern of processing life through a foolish lends. If the person gains wisdom when they receive correction, then they have a pattern of processing life through a wise lens. Either way, there will be an impact on your life!
In the course of your life and leadership you will deal with people of all types. Dealing with all people the same way is not wise. We are to love all people, but that love is to be expressed in different ways based on the circumstance and the chosen responses of the people we are dealing with. You may have noticed that one of the biggest factors that drains people’s tanks is not identifying and correctly dealing with difficult or draining people.
Here is more wisdom that helps us identify and deal appropriately with people:
- Proverbs 29:22 says “A man of wrath stirs up strife.” That’s how it works- in any setting, strife is usually caused by a ‘man (or woman) of wrath’. Wherever they go people end up upset and in disunity.
- Proverbs 6:12-14 says that “a worthless person is continually sewing discord.” This isn’t rocket science. Be attentive to what follows people.
- Proverbs 6:19: “The Lord hates a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sews discord among brothers.” Some people are very good at causing problems among others by spreading lies, rumors, and dissention. That drives God crazy. The Bible uses some strong language to describe His feelings about it.
- Proverbs 10:18, which says that “whoever utters slander is a fool.” That’s getting straight to the point. Slander is defined as a false tail or a malicious report that is meant to hurt someone’s reputation. We are desensitized to slander because it happens so often in our culture.
- Proverbs 18:3: “When wickedness comes, contempt comes also.” If people show contempt for others, for leaders, or for any idea that is not their personal preference then we need to be understanding the subtle effect they will have in a family and/or organizational culture.
I say all this so that you are on your best alert! Here is a prayer for you to help bring this home:
“Father in heaven, I pray that you will help me to increase in wisdom. I pray that you will give me the insight that I need to deal with each person with wisdom, discernment and grace. Help me to create in my home, my school and my workplace an atmosphere where people have protection from the evil actions of others. Father, I ask that you would pour your love and peace into me so that I will be replenished when I have to deal with difficult people issues. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen”