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How can you avoid the conflicts of life that can deter and distract you, and even detour you, from running and finishing your spiritual race? This includes conflicts with other people that can leave you frustrated and upset to the point you lose sight of what God has assigned you to do for Him.

Are you in conflict with anyone today? Do you know anyone who rubs you the wrong way so badly that when you walk away from that person, you feel agitated — or, worse, like you’re about to explode? Does that person always seem to say things that are so impolite, inappropriate, out of place, or even derogatory that it nearly makes your blood boil when you’re around him or her?

I want you to ponder this: Have you ever considered that you may be rubbing that person the wrong way as well?

As I relate the following story to you, I am obligated by God to begin by telling you that over the course of many years, this “enemy” I’m about to describe has become a great friend. In fact, this person is so dear to me today that I cherish every time I get to see and spend time with him. So I testify to you personally, from the outset of this teaching, that the majority of horrible relational situations can be turned around if you will obey what Romans 12:18 tells you to do: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Many years ago, I had to regularly deal with a pastor who was one of the rudest and most belittling people I had ever met in my life. But the man lived in the same city I lived in, so I simply couldn’t avoid seeing him from time to time. However, whenever I found myself in the same place with him, I was almost always shocked by what came out of his mouth. He freely gossiped and spoke maliciously about other pastors and churches. Everyone was his target including me.

Because he was a pastor in our same city, I tried very hard to get along with this man. But he was one of those people who just rubbed me the wrong way — and I didn’t like him. I repeatedly asked the Lord to help me forgive him for the callous words he had spoken about me to other pastors and leaders. Because he and I were pastors of the two largest churches in that particular nation, I knew I had to get along with this man. Nevertheless, trying to draw near to him was like trying to hug a cactus — I got “jabbed” every time I came close!

I tried to convince myself that my inner conflict with this pastor was the result of a wrong mix of personalities. But if that really had been the case, this man had a wrong personality mix with just about every pastor in our city! The way he affected me was exactly the way he affected every other pastor I knew in the area. The truth was that he was simply an offensive person. He knew he was offensive. In fact, I think he enjoyed his reputation for being difficult, and by all appearances, he had no intention of changing.

After many years of struggling in my relationship with this man, I finally came to realize that although this man was mightily gifted as a public communicator, he had no people skills on a personal level. He really was ill-mannered. The problem truly was with him. Because this pastor seemed to respect no one but himself and was not submitted to any spiritual authority, no one could find a way to speak into his life and try to help him.

So what was I to do in this situation? Like it or not, I was going to have to regularly be in this man’s company. He and I were continually attending meetings in the community in which we both were expected to participate. It was impossible for me to avoid this man, so I began to ask the Lord to help me know how to get along with him so that I didn’t leave upset every time the two of us had to be at the same place at the same time.

Copyright © Rick Renner Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission

Author Biography

Rick Renner
Web site: Rick Renner Ministries
Rick and Denise met while they were each on an individual quest to wholeheartedly follow God’s plan for their lives. Rick was a college student, growing in his teaching ministry. Denise was a talented vocalist. She chose not to pursue a course that held the prospect of performing with the Metropolitan Opera so that she could instead pursue a relationship with Rick and fulfill her heart’s desire to enter full-time ministry.

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