After connecting, deflecting, and reflecting of difficult behavior, comes the directing. When the difficult person understands that we are engaged with his heart, he becomes more open to our suggestions. This is when we want to direct him toward wisdom. Often, this is most effective when we offer multiple wise choices.
In one of the 30 sayings of the wise, Solomon wrote: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 24:11-12). God calls us to direct others towards wisdom.
Next time you encounter a difficult person, connect with his heart, deflect his difficult behavior, reflect your understanding of his heart to him, and direct him toward wisdom by offering wise alternatives for him to consider.
When we encounter a difficult person, we want to lead him wisely through listening — moving past his challenging words and nonverbal cues to his desires. Connect with his heart like a Lego. Deflect his difficult behavior like a shield. Reflect his heart like a mirror. Direct him toward wisdom like a highway sign. This will provide a path for us to wisely navigate through conflict to community.