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Faces on Faith: Helping difficult people change

August 30, 2017
By Russ Rainey , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Like most of us, you probably have difficult people in your life who consume your thoughts and leave you feeling frustrated and defeated. You can "lose your religion" over these people! They may be family, friends, co-workers, or even church attenders. You have tried to help these folks, but your advice has fallen on deaf ears. Worse yet, they may resent your efforts to intervene.

Difficult people are trapped in a self-centered, self-defeating cycle, which they are unwilling to address. How do we help them? Is it even possible to help them? Truthfully, it's complicated because the answer hinges on three key players playing their parts: the difficult person, the helper, and God.

As a pastor and licensed counselor, I know there is both a biblical and a psychological perspective on this, but both sides tell me that the only person I can control is me, so here is what I can actually do for the difficult person:

But, there is another important question: "What can I do for me?" The answer: find someone safe to talk to and pray with, and learn how to take better care of yourself regardless of what the difficult person chooses to do. God is there for you, and others are as well, if you will but ask.

Based on the book "Helping Difficult People Change," by Russ Rainey, PhD

-Russ Rainey, Pastor for Caring Ministries, Sanibel Community Church



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