Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.―Proverbs 9:8

Most of us have people in our lives that are hard to understand. Some are just cranky on occasion and others appear to be always ready to take offense. We want to reach out but aren’t sure how. Every attempt seems to be met with suspicion or contempt. A simple “How do you do?” is twisted into something sinister and malevolent. The point of this post is not to render judgment on such folks. There are, no doubt, many reasons why people do what they do―e.g., bitterness, anger, depression, etc. Much of this is a mystery and defies rational explanation. Let God do the judging.

However, we’re frequently put in positions of having to interact with, or react to such dispositions and attitudes. If we’re not careful, the discontent will dominate our churches, families, or work places. Perhaps you’re tempted to always work for pleasantness and consensus, which then opens the door for the most extreme and aggressive persons to dominate. Of course, we don’t want them to be “upset.” Paul warns, “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11). Sometimes, walking away is the only option because staying and talking seems only to make things worse.

We still love and pray and wait and hope.