4 Strategies for Loving Difficult People—Including Your Family

Sometimes it’s easier to love people outside of your family than those you are related to. How many times have you found yourself in a tense conversation around the table during a holiday dinner? Or maybe you’ve felt like you needed to avoid someone because you knew the discussion would likely take a turn for the worse.

Thankfully, God is revealing new ways to operate so that we can be more effective in our changing times.

These strategies are helpful to practice any time during the year, but especially during the holiday season when we spend more time with family, relatives and friends who may be more challenging to love.

1. Break through religiosity—and let go of “Christianese.”

Religiosity means acting so religious that you can’t connect in a real way with people—and they can’t connect with you either.

Christians often use their own inside language—I call it “Christianese.” But it keeps people from being able to understand and relate. To communicate effectively, it’s important to learn the language of the people you want to reach out to.

Here are two tips to help you overcome “Christianese”:

  • Listen to how people outside your circles speak. You’ll often discover what metaphors are meaningful to them and different ways they think about things.
  • Start reading a modern translation of the Bible, such as The Passion Translation, The Message or the New Living Translation. Look up verses that you may have memorized in a more traditional version and note new ways to say the same thing. You’ll often find fresh, inspiring ways to communicate. Make a list of phrases or ideas that you think will be understandable and inviting.

2. Allow people time to experience God.

Honor people’s process. Sometimes asking them to change too quickly will do more harm than good. Remember that one plants, another waters but God brings the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6).

3. Separate religion from politics.

We need to remember that God’s heart is for people, not political parties. I am politically active. I vote regularly, write to my elected officials—including the president—and pray for our leaders.

It’s good to be politically active, but lately people have tried disguising hatred toward people as “hating what they represent” … and it’s wrong.

We need to see people as people first, not their political affiliation.

4. Love people unconditionally, like Jesus did.

Remember, you do not have to agree with people—including your family—to love them. And people don’t have to agree with you in order for you to love and bless them, either!

Remember, not everyone who disagrees with you is wrong. Knowing that you’re likely wrong about a few things will keep you humble.

A great way to start loving people unconditionally is remaining kind in the face of disagreements.

What strategies have you used to be kind to people who challenge you? Share your tips below in the comments.

Blessings,

Doug Addison

DougAddison.com

P.S. Do you know that improving the relationships around you will actually help you launch into your destiny? If you’re struggling with how to deal with the stressful relationships in your life, check out this online workshop, Changing the Spiritual Atmosphere Over Your Relationships.

Doug Addison is a prophetic speaker, author and coach. He is known for his Daily Prophetic Words, Spirit Connection webcast, podcast and blog. Doug’s message of love, hope and having fun reaches people around the world! His powerful, positively funny teaching style and coaching helps open people to discover their destiny and experience God’s supernatural love and power. He and his wife Linda live in Los Angeles, California where he is impacting the arts, entertainment and media industries.

    • Christie Chong
    • December 22, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing! What I usually do, is to remain who I am. I’m a person who likes to share food or give gifts. So I continue to share food and give gifts gifts to those who are unkind and difficult people.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 22, 2017
      Reply

      That’s awesome Christie! I love both those ways of lovings those who might be difficult. Everyone loves good food and good gifts! Bless you!

    • Gloria
    • December 18, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks, Doug, for this great post. In times past, I’ve chosen often to be absent from the family gatherings to avoid the tensions that come with it. Then I began to realize that it’s not my job to “fix” people’s theology, or to have them agree with me in order to love them. By being kind, listening deeply to others, It’s way more fun now and less stressful to join in the holiday festivities. And besides kindness works all year long. Blessings on you Doug and team! Thanks!

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 18, 2017
      Reply

      Amen Gloria! You are so right, its not our job to fix people, but to love them. There is such freedom in that! Bless you Gloria.

    • Barbara White
    • December 18, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you Doug,
    for ever inspiring us to come up higher in the faith. You have a unique gift of expressing what God desires to see in us all, ( His reflection.) Reminding us that being changed into God’s image is a daily process.
    Thank you!
    Barbara W.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 18, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Barbara! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    • Steffi
    • December 17, 2017
    Reply

    Hi, my favorite way, to love dificult people is to say to Jesus, please love you them now, please take over the situation Holy Ghost. So I can relax and wondering what god is doing, and realy, it is amazing!!!
    Love
    Steffi

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 18, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Steffi! Bless you!

    • Riss
    • December 15, 2017
    Reply

    I once heard Cristina Foor speak on the power our words have. I try to remember to speak life..not death. Our words are weapons. For me, it’s difficult to separate what we battle vs. People quite a bit. Our enemy is satan. I have to step back and agree with God.. and who God says they are. It’s easy to reflect on what He does for my ass… The grace. The mercy. The janitor of my messes….my representation, my attorney. He gives the opposite of what I deserve. Unconditional love. That’s how He looks at them, too. I can feel His heart for creation in the love He gives continuously displays in my life and our children, nature, the whole entire universe… that vast love. And you hope it makes a difference. A big part of faith is things hoped for. Speak truth. Because satan is a liar. Agree with who God says they are. For me it’s a challenging task, especially when attacks are so vicious and you have to look that person in the face. Say the F bomb to Satan and not the people. . .. The F bomb is definitely not classy, and people might label you crazy when you start yelling the F bomb to satan…But we all know what it’s like to be that wounded, I believe. I wonder if it’s wrong to want to kick satan in the face..? Ha ha 😬🤭

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Riss! I love your heart for people and how you look at them the way God does. This is key to loving people, seeing them how God does. Bless you!

    • georgia pappa
    • December 15, 2017
    Reply

    One of Heidi Baker’s leaders (“Surpresa Sitole”) said in order to remain in your first love in the last days is to not argue but present the truth and, if need be, go elsewhere -and pray the person can receive it.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 18, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Georgia! Great advice!

    • Anita
    • December 15, 2017
    Reply

    I love this. God has been speaking to me lately from I Corinthians 13, the love chapter. I can’t get past “love is patient~~~”. It is allowing God to love people in and through me. Our motto in our over 50’s group at church is: loving God, loving others. Simple. It is God’s love that will bring them to Christ. I chose that my culture is love, honor, and respect. I find myself saying this often. 😉 Merry CHRISTmas to each of you.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Awesome Anita! That is so good and simple. Merry Christmas to you too! Have a beautiful time with your friends and family.

    • Jeff Grassmick
    • December 15, 2017
    Reply

    I had a major breakthrough happen and thankfully I was wise enough not to get religious.
    My mother and my son’s grandmother passed away recently and him and I are complete opposites politically and he’s not a Christian at all but I was able to recognize a prophetic and a Seer anointing in him and express that to him without using Christianese I’m looking forward to a growth in our relationship like we’ve never had before

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 15, 2017
      Reply

      How cool Jeff! I love how you were able to see a gifting and express that to him in a way he could understand. Bless this relationship and may he come to know God and how much God loves him!

    • Andrea Nelson
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Doug, this was a reminder and a blessing. I’m constantly working on the area. I LISTEN, let them finish and then seek to understand.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 15, 2017
      Reply

      Awesome Andrea. I love how you emphasize listening. Listening is such a key to loving people and honoring them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kim
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you for the great post! I love adding new tools to my tool belt… I have one really difficult family member and God has done amazing things in our relationship over the past five years. With this person in particular, the Holy Spirit has continually reminded me that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Thanks be to God, though; love is a powerful weapon! The Lord has been teaching me what real love looks like in action and I too have been learning how not to have a vocal opinion on some things and just be quiet (with a smile). I’m still learning…

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 18, 2017
      Reply

      We’re all still learning Kim! Its one of the beautiful things about doing life with one another, we realize we’re all still learning and growing. Thanks for sharing what the Holy Spirit reminded you of. Bless you!

    • Angela
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    I have a friend who is always anxious and other people find it hard to be around them I just simply listen and advise reading Gods word to calm them down and to read it allowed

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 18, 2017
      Reply

      How kind and sweet of you Angela. Thank you for sharing. Bless you and your friend!

    • Elizabeth Joy
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Difficult people to me are Christians who speak the Chriataineese …I relate 100% with pretty much everyone else no issues. Though Jesus has and is healing even this past Sunday I was at my churches get together. A conversation that felt loaded and manipulative was going on at my table. I tune it out so I dont get offended.

    If just avoid topics of controversy around Christains because I dont appreciate how they take their stands often…condensending…self righteous ..so I just avoid certain convos with Christians esp political fueled ones who are neg. Refuse to participate in convos. I actually enjoy talking to heathens atheist drug addicts and criminals 100 % more than Christains. Lol so I Have the opposite issue. My Jonah ninivah “city” are the church pretty much. Has taken me 7 years after leaving 7 years (raised in church) to work through offenses indifference and eye rolling at Christians. Not ALL. But in general. I dont stuggle feeling judged around non Christains.
    Byw. You’re amazing Doug. Thank you for loving the outcasts. You have helped me forgive Christains. 😭

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Elizabeth! That’s amazing that you are such a light in your city. Its smart to stay out of conversations filled with judgements and self-righteous talk. Bless you and all God is doing in your life!

    • Pam bacani
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    The scripture that comes to my mind often is, think of others better than yourself and Jesus doesn’t play favorites. No, partially! If we are in a disagreement with someone and we are thinking that Jesus loves them just as much as He loves me and HE wants me to show that love, you’ll be silent and listening more than trying to prove your point or beliefs. I’m 42 and I’m still learning to view others differently. I had a experience about a year ago that changed my thoughts. I went to a women’s retreat, there was a girl who appeared to be about 16 in a high tech wheel chair. Clearly disabled on many levels,
    conversation was hard and I wondered who took care of her. I chose to avoid much conversation with her and sought after what I could gain from the retreat. I really didn’t think to much about her as she was in the back ground and mostly ignored. Then something truly amazing happened, the worship team played a song that talked about dancing with Jesus. Someone wheeled Chelsie out to dance with Jesus. We circled around her with dancing and singing. She twirled her chair around as 30 or so women danced around her holding hands. This girl was radiant. God shined his spot light on her, exalted her. I have never wittnesed such love in all my life. Yes, it took me awhile to join that circle. I was not in the habit of thinking of others more highly than myself. This is when that scripture became very real to me. Honor others better than yourself. Blessings…..

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Wow Pam, that brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful moment, I wish I was able to see such a precious time as that.

      And how funny, I have on my computer an open tab of Philippians 2:3, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” I felt God wanting me to meditate on that verse and then I read that you said it as well. God is so awesome at getting our attention haha!

      Thanks so much for sharing, and bless your beautiful heart!

    • Elyce Mouskondis
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    One of the ways I try to stop a conversation when it is getting to tense is to being in humor. It always breaks up the situation and gives us both time to see it really isn’t that important to get upset about. I know Jesus has a sense of humor.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 15, 2017
      Reply

      Haha yes! That is one of my favorite ways too! God is so funny, so using humor is an awesome way to break up tension. Bless you Elyce!

    • Christine Anderson
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    One way that I have learned is that agreeing to disagree and show kindness in levity really is unity .
    Having to be right shows no service to your own growth . It also is teaching me that love was freely given to me , and when Holy Spirit disagrees with me I’m not rejected . I find in life we are constantly Course correcting and learning and that growth has been priceless !!!

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      That’s such a good point Christine, we are constantly growing and learning, which is all about of going from glory to glory. God is so good to come alongside us and enjoy the process of us growing. Bless you!

    • Stephanie
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    What about if the difficult person is a “religious” Christian? Someone who just cannot see past their own very strict code? We are not talking doctrinal differences here, but more extra-Biblical stuff that they foist upon people and become pushy and fearful if those people don’t follow?

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Great question Stephanie! You get to show them the love and the freedom you have in Christ. Religious people seeing how filled with joy you are is a powerful way to show them how free and fun God is. Bless you!

    • Christine Anderson
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you Doug ,
    These are very clear , easy instructions and directions to remind us of Gods heart towards others .

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Awesome Christine! I’m so glad you enjoyed Doug’s blog post. Bless you!

    • Sonja Campbell
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    I haven’t been able to sow into your ministry or take a course yet, but I want you to know God’s prophetic words from you have been inspiring. Your gentle and light approach is helpful and you lace it all with truth. Thank you

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Awesome Sonja! Thanks so much for sharing that with us. Bless you!

    • Lisa
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    These are really good tips. One word of caution/accuracy: The Message and The Passion versions are paraphrases and not truly translations. That doesn’t mean don’t read them (because I love both of them), but don’t rely on them for study as they are more devotional renderings than anything else. Thx for all hour encouraging words, Doug!

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing Lisa! Reading multiple translations is always good :). Bless you!

    • Sam
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Dear prophet Dough Addison
    Before I read your ‘ strategies for loving difficult people – Including your family ‘ , my strategy is to be religiosity and christianese which you have exactly talk about when people challenge me but now thank God I have learn so many new things from you .God bless

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Awesome Sam, I’m so glad this blog post was helpful to you. I think a lot of us fall in Christianese and often with good intention, I know I have. But we forget that what we are saying may be hard for someone not Christian to fully understand and grasp. Bless you Sam for being teachable and humble!

    • Cindy
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    In my quiet time yesterday, people came to my mind and I ‘heard’ that I can be critical and judgmental. Then I had a vision of a sleigh coming around a store. I could see the tracks and then they’d disappear in the fresh, sparkling, powdery snow. I heard — the mistakes of the past are being erased.
    I was so excited when I realized it was my attitude of heart that was being changed. I will see each person as if freshly fallen snow has covered anything from our past that has affected my opinion of them.
    I prayed for the Holy Ghost power to go to the memories and the emotions associated with each one. That felt amazing.
    I acknowledge that I sometimes see people as their past and not their future. I want to see them as YOU see them, Lord! As If Freshly Fallen Sparkly Snow Covers Theirs Tracks From Their Past !!!
    Your love covers a multitude of sins. Each day is new!
    In the vision, the sleigh came out of the snow onto the parking lot. I think that speaks of our interactions with each other. The changed attitude will affect how we interact with each other. The name of the store —
    Save-a-Lot.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Wow Cindy, that is so beautiful. I love that picture of a sleigh in snow. I am going to pray that too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  1. Reply

    I always say “Let’s agree to disagree!” When a conversation starts to get heated because of political differences, I just say, “I am hanging up now because
    I love you to much to argue with you.” I end the conversation and that way there is no major fight. The next time we talk we have both cooled off and we just try to steer clear of the same conversation.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Awesome Susan! Thanks for sharing! Bless you!

    • Blossom
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    The choice I use to be kind to those who challenge me is I purposely ask myself quietly ,” How would Jesus respond?” That question alone separates the behavior from person standing before me and I am reminded that my main purpose on earth is to show unconditional Love, Grace and Mercy! Which helps my reaction of defending myself become null and void when I choose what’s right spiritually and not feed my fleshly desire to be right and defend myself.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Amen Blossom! That’s an awesome way to check yourself by asking, how would Jesus respond. Jesus doesn’t take offense or constantly rebuke people, but shows love, grace, and mercy. Thanks for sharing your tip!

    • H Davies
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Much easier said than done, regarding loving people unconditionally. That can require much time to find deliverance and freedom from generational weaknesses and tendencies, and can be a good process of time. I’m in my 60’s and still dealing with this as a pretty strong believer. I think most need God’s help with this because there are plenty of wounded and very difficult people in the church. As Joyce Meyers says, there are as many messed up people in the church, as there are in the world. But we know with God’s help, we can transition anything in time.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 19, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing H Davies! Yes, we need God to help us with this, or else we could never be able to love the way God loves. Bless you!

    • Tania Johnson
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    I just smile and say …well it made me excited and I wanted to share about the Love of Jesus . Lol but your probably right ha.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Haha! I love your passion! Bless you Tania!

    • Tom Teater
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks Doug,
    I needed this, I’ve got this thing to be right, that my way is better. Clearly it’s not. It’s about people,

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Amen Tom. It’s about people and loving them. This holiday season I pray your family see’s how joyful and kind you are! Bless you!

    • Julie
    • December 14, 2017
    Reply

    The main strategy I use to be kind to people who challenge me is to simply shut up. Die to the need to be right. Then I constantly mutter the scripture, “When a woman’s ways please the Lord, He makes even her enemies be at peace with her!” Works all the time.

      • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
      • December 14, 2017
      Reply

      Ha, that’s awesome! Yes, sometimes its better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing. Thanks for sharing! Bless you.

        • Virginia Webb
        • December 15, 2017
        Reply

        God showed me —I try so hard to love someone and it just does not seem to work — then He said “just be kind “”” wow that is working

          • Nikki, InLight Connection Team
          • December 15, 2017
          Reply

          I love that Virginia! It’s so simple <3. Bless you!

Leave a Comment

Top