Making the Effort to Connect with Difficult People

A few weeks ago, Tyler Charles interviewed me for a download, which was recently published and contains seven excellent articles. My interview was recently posted on their site. They also published my article, Ministering to Challenging People. Both are valuable resources for anyone who leads people.

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  • Congratulations Pat! Wonderful news and a great interview. I can only imagine it's a challenging ministry but I agree with you - we all have weak spots and flaws.  How blessed we are to find kindness in the midst of our weaknesses. In the South we refer to those people who can make even the most difficult person feel comfortable as people who have "style," and grace.


    I think of the story of the demoniac who broke iron shackles and lived in a cemetery - not like our cemeteries - but caves where bodies of the dead were placed and in such a cave this man, probably a Gentile, lived. (Gentile because he was outside Gadara, a Gentile city and because there were pig farmers - and Christ cast his demons into the pigs). Christ went out of his way to minister to a Gentile here.


    Christ cast out the man's demons, and the man calmed down, dressed and sitting at the feet of Jesus. He wanted to follow Christ, but Jesus sent him back to his village to testify of his healing. The area he returned to? The Gentile cities of Decapolis - where Paul would go through years later with his account of the gospel. Like John the Baptist the "challenging person" prepared the way for the Word. It is not just the lives of the one challenging person we change, but the lives of those whom they become a witness to.


    It also brings up the issue that when challenging people are healed that those around them become angry. Once the alcoholic is in recovery then those around him/her no longer have a scapegoat or a familiar drama. They have to learn new lines!


    I'd be interested in hearing what you do with the people who benefit from the challenging person NOT changing. In my family I set boundaries and don't engage with family members who are all active alcoholics. I don't hate them, but I don't tolerate abuse and all the drama and violence that goes with the disease. I also notice that as soon as any one of them gets into recovery and remains sober that the others all move to sabotage them as soon as it becomes obvious they'll have to change if that someone stays sober.


    Often the challenging person makes it easier for people to avoid their own issues. Again - congratulations on teh interview - it was a good one and a great read!

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