Have you had to deal with aggravating people? Maybe at work, it’s the employees, the customers, or your boss? Or at school, or in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s in your family – a family has a lot of aggravating people. And church people, especially. Sometimes I think church would go a lot better without the people, especially me. I can be pretty aggravating to others, I guarantee. What to do with aggravating people?
In 2 Samuel 16, King David had to deal with several aggravating people, but one in particular, Shimei. He was a former enemy who cursed continually at David. David was on the run away from his son Absalom and Shimei threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David, and all the people and all the mighty men who were on his right hand and on his left. Shimei cried, “Go away, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord is taking your kingdom away, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.” He stood far enough away from David, on the hillside opposite him, and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and flung dust. One of David’s advisers asked, “Why should this dead dog curse you, my lord the king? Can I go over and take off his head?” Aggravating people do that to you, they nit and pick at you from just far enough away. They make you want to take off their head. And while it’s true that headless people won’t aggravate you, what’s wrong with this strategy?
David said, “What have I to do with him, what do you want me to do? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then am I to argue? Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this man! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on my iniquity and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” This is how to deal with aggravating people, and in fact, all of life’s aggravations. The Lord is in charge. The Lord is working behind the scenes. Trust in the Lord. The secret of David’s peace is God’s deep and warm compassion, even when He disciplines for sin. Your sin is real and there are consequences for your sin, but God’s grace and goodness are greater. His mercy is more. David is patient and endures hardships and enemy attacks. David submits to God and His decrees, He does not attack or vindicate himself. He makes his way, along the path, sucking it up. In essence, he is praying as Jesus instructed and prayed Himself, “Thy will be done.” How do you submit to God’s will in the midst of aggravating people?
Haters are going to hate, rightly or wrongly. Maybe the aggravating people in your life are a result of your sins and bad choices on your part. Maybe you deserve the aggravation, or you’re innocent and it’s because of their sin they act this way toward you. Can you look to the Lord and trust in, “His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” The Lord is in this and behind this. Who are you to argue? Has the Lord directed these people to aggravate you? It may be that the Lord will look on your iniquity and that the Lord will repay you with good today. Maybe God is using the aggravating people to mature you and transform you to be more like Jesus; He had to deal with a lot of aggravating people – how did He? How should you?