Okay, one week into the diet. The good news is: I’ve lost five pounds! Yay! 20 sticks of butter! The bad news is: I’ve lost five pounds. Whoop-dee-doo.
You get me, right? It’s the old “glass is half full” bit. I can be Tigger! Or Eeyore…
I’ve been thinking—the same goes with people in our lives. Let’s face it: some people—wow—it seems like their entire life is like the beginning of a weight-loss plan; five pounds in—for umpteen years. One step forward, two steps back. Arrghh! Somebody shoot me!
But at least—like Momma on a diet—most of them are moving in the right direction. And Folks, I’m not clueless; some people who know me wonder if I’ll ever get a clue. [Thanks, those of you who’ve stuck with me!]
We’re all kind of pathetic, aren’t we? Works in progress. Thinking about that causes my head to hang low. I don’t like remembering the times I’ve bailed out on people, some just because I thought they were too high-maintenance. Heaven, Forgive me.
SIDE NOTE: I’m so glad God doesn’t bail.
It’s easy to be like Eeyore and give up on certain individuals. (“Oh, my, still no difference, it’s hopeless…”) The high road is to keep bouncing alongside—like Tigger! (“Let’s try this again! Fun, fun, fun!”)
Friend, don’t send that person packing. They need you. Even the true church is full of imperfect people. God will help; His Word will help us be a paraclete: “one who encourages or uplifts … called to one’s side.”
But you’re thinking about that person, aren’t you? You’re asking, “HOW?!”
I’m glad you asked. This topic came to mind because of a message from John MacArthur from 1 Thess. 5:14* called “Dealing with Problem People.” It’s available at gty.org . I made a short outline (below).
Key quote: “It requires involvement.”
= – =
The WAYWARD (disorderly, critics) need WARNING (coming alongside, describing consequences).
The WORRIED (hate change, can’t rise above) need ENCOURAGEMENT (console, comfort, reassure, soothe).
The WEAK (weak faith, susceptible to sin) need HELP (support, hold up).
The WEARISOME (don’t seem to grow, easily distracted) need PATIENCE (How patient? As patient as God is with you.)
The WICKED (bad influence, do evil to you, speak evil about you, shut you out) need BLESSING (pursue them, return their hostility with goodness)
*Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.