Are We Expected to Be Thankful for the 'Problem People' in Our Lives?

(Unsplash/Christian Erfurt)

Every church has them. In fact, every person probably has at least one. "Problem people," I call them. It's hard to be grateful for them, but Paul told us to be thankful in all circumstances (Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18) and to abound in thanksgiving (Col. 2:7). Here are some reasons to be thankful for the problem people in your life:

  1. They're a reminder that we're called to reach sinners. We sometimes get so cocooned among believers and friends that we forget our need to live in the real world. Problem people take us back to that world.
  2. They force us to look in the mirror. Truth be told, we all have the capacity to be somebody else's problem person. Problematic people should cause us to avoid being that kind of person.
  3. They remind us of God's grace. Were it not for His grace and mercy, we not only have the capacity to become a problem person; we'd be that person.
  4. They not only remind us of grace, but they almost force us to learn to be gracious. This is seldom easy, but extending grace to problem people is a mark of God's work in our lives.
  5. They challenge us to live as Jesus taught us. He told us, in fact, to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us and pray for those who abuse us (Luke 6:27-28). Problem people are an opportunity to let the Spirit of God move our hearts in this direction.
  6. They may be fertile soil for evangelism. Some problematic people are that way because they don't know Jesus. If they're already in our lives, they might be a field ripe for the harvest.
  7. They might be an opportunity for discipleship. Believers who are problems are sometimes thoroughly undiscipled, and their grumbling is evidence of that neglect. I've seen God grow whining babies into mature believers when somebody gives them godly attention.
  8. They make us pray. We need to pray to love them, to forgive them, to teach them, to minister to them, to be patient with them, to know when to confront them and to know even if and when to consider church discipline. We who are often self-dependent need such gifts that drive us to pray.
  9. They keep us humble. That happens when we face people whose hearts we can't seem to reach. We learn again how little we can do without God's help.
  10. If they're believers, they're still brothers and sisters in Christ. They're still part of the family. Problematic members of the body, yes, but they're still in the fold.

What reasons would you add to this list?

This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders