In order to listen and lead the difficult person, we must make at least four wise movements: (1) connect with his heart like a Lego (Proverbs 20:5); (2) deflect his difficult behavior like a shield (Proverbs 17:9); (3) reflect his heart like a mirror (Proverbs 27:19); and (4) direct him toward wisdom like a highway sign (Proverbs 24:11-12). Each practice is performed uniquely with each respective difficult type (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
How well do you deflect difficult behavior?
Difficult behavior includes coarse words, a rude tone of voice, demeaning facial gestures, evil eye contact, improper use of the hands and body, and even ignoring a person altogether. Most people never get past these flaming arrows because they cannot control their own prideful responses to the negative behavior.
We need to deflect the difficult behavior to Christ who gives us the power to do so because He has conquered sin at the cross, fully paying its penalty once and for all. Deflecting moves past the unpleasant behavior without disengaging from the relationship. Proverbs records: “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Deflecting covers over an offense.
When you encounter difficult behavior, remain engaged with the person’s heart and deflect his sin like a shield. Humble your heart to Christ and the person who is being difficult. This will allow you to be wise in deflecting his flaming arrows. Consequently, it will not be you, but Christ in you who will do the deflecting.