Hi everybody welcome to your move where we help you make better decisions and live with fewer regrets. I’M andy stanley and i’ll be your guide, and today we’re talking about those people. We try to avoid them.
We don’t always know what to do with them and we try real hard not to become like them. That’S right today we are talking about mean people and what to do about them. So do you know what you mean? People stick around [ Music ].
So today is um part, one of a two-part series entitled mean people and what to do about them mean people and what to do about them. I i thought about entitling this series, bad people and what to do about them, but you know we hesitate to call anybody bad.
We say things like this, like you know, he’s he’s really not he’s really not a bad person and that’s what we say he’s really not a bad person. He just he just does bad things like a lot, which i think that’s what it means to be a bad person, but so we’re not going to do a bad person.
We’Re going to do mean person we’re going to stick with mean people mean people and specifically, what should we do about the mean people in our lives, and by mean i mean mean these: are the unpleasant people uh? These are the deceptive people.
These are the people that control us with time or money or with our children. These are the users they’re just they’re, just unkind. It may be that person that when you see them coming, you just don’t want to interact with them, because well they’re, just there’s just no other way to say it.
They’Re just mean and to be clear. This isn’t to say that we’re not often mean i mean all of us have been mean at some point. In fact, there’s somebody maybe who’s going to see or hear this message and unfortunately we’re going to come to mind.
But generally, what we talk about when we’re together is how to live a life in such a way and to live our lives in such a way. That we’re not the mean people so we’re not discounting the fact that from time to time we can be mean and certainly have the potential um to be perhaps as mean as the meanest person we’ve ever met.
But this these two messages are going to focus on how to respond to and how to react to the mean people in our lives now. The reason this is so important um is this is, if, if you don’t have a plan, and if i don’t have a plan um if we’re not prepared and honestly as we’re going to see if we’re not somewhat proactive, here’s what happens – and we we’ve all experienced This the mean people the mean people in our lives.
Ultimately, they gain a measure of control over our lives and before we know it we’re actually acting like they do, and it feels in the moment as if we have no choice. In fact, if somebody were to hear your story or when you tell your story and you talk about how you’ve reacted to or responded to, the person that you know is mean to you um the person that hears your story is like well, who could blame you? It’S almost like, it’s like you, have no choice and the reason it feels like we have no choice is this: that mean people, and we don’t think in these terms when we’re in the relationship but mean people without even meaning to they just keep us off balance.
We’Re just always off balance; we don’t know where what we’re walking into we don’t know how to respond. They kind of lean left and we kind of lean right, because, when we’re off balance, what happens we’re forced to compensate? This is why, in these relationships, you feel like you’re, not even yourself.
In fact somebody may have said to you. You know when you’re around him when you’re around her when you’re together, i feel like, i feel like you’re, not even yourself. Why? Because well, when we’re around these kinds of people, we are forced to compensate if somebody walks up and pushes you off balance.
Everything in you would you compensate to regain your balance, but the problem with a mean person is: it is impossible. It is virtually impossible to maintain and keep your balance i’ll. Give you a quick illustration that actually is a long illustration.
I’M going to try to keep short when my mom who died when she was 82. When my mom was in her late 30s, she met a young woman in her late 20s that she helped out and they became lifelong friends. Her name was alice and alice actually used to stay with me with my sister and me when my parents would go out of town, so i’ve known alice, basically my whole life.
So then, when my mom was in her 70s and basically she couldn’t drive anymore and she really had needed some. Some help at home alice would actually drive 45 minutes from her home. Now alice is in her late 60s.
She would drive from her home 45 minutes to my mom’s home every single week to go through my mom’s mail pay, my mom’s bills balance my mom’s checkbook and just answer any questions and just spend time with my mom, which i was so grateful for.
So my mom invested in her now she’s investing in my mom and again it took so much pressure off of me so extraordinarily grateful. So, as my mom neared, the end of her life and as she was, you know, less and less able to take care of herself um alice began to lose her sight and before long she couldn’t drive any longer and she was basically a shut-in in her own Home and then sandra, my wife began doing for alice what alice had done for my mom so as time goes by, it becomes clear to us that alice can’t stay in her house any longer, because technically she was living alone.
We’Ll come back to that in just a minute and so sandra convinced alice that she needed to move to assisted living now. If anyone here has ever moved a parent, um or a spouse’s parent to assisted living, it is so complicated, but it’s even more complicated.
We’Re trying to move somebody who is not a family member, so sandra got an attorney. She became alice’s official legal power of attorney, and then she got another friend of alice’s to become alice’s. Um uh physical, our medical power of attorney, said there’s kind of team atlas.
So the goal was get her assisted living. In fact, sandra found a place two miles from our house, because we’re committed to alice for the rest of her life well, anyway, about eight or nine months before that process began.
An old friend of aldus’s showed up at her front door, a gentleman in his late 60s, keeping all this straight and he said alice, i’m destitute. I don’t have a place to live. I’Ve been living in my car, um, it’s getting cold.
Would it be okay? If i moved in with you for just a few months now, alice had been warned and later we were warned that this guy’s name is roger, that if you let roger move in you’re going to have a difficult time getting roger to move out.
But she allowed him to move into one of her spirit, bedrooms and actually, honestly, he was pretty helpful because he could drive and he could take her to her doctor’s visits. Um. He would bring us the mail.
Sometimes he seemed like the nicest guy – and i couldn’t imagine this was going to be a problem. Besides, he knew we’re going to sell her house, and so, if we sell her house, you’ll probably have to move out by that point right.
So i felt like there was kind of a built-in deadline. This wouldn’t be a problem, and so we finally have get to we get alice, moved to this assisted living place close to us. That was, you know, an event.
We get the house cleaned out. We do this big garage, sale, sander, put signs out that the house is going to go for sale and you know the real estate market right now is so high. So she starts getting calls and now she’s got to show the house.
But now the house is completely empty, i mean she sold everything and then threw everything else away and just a mammoth. You know task if you’ve ever done, that for someone and so sandra’s, you know riding point on this whole process and then we got to show the house, but the problem is there’s you know come see this house, it’s completely empty except, oh yeah.
Don’T go in that bedroom. There’S a air mattress with some clothes in the closet and a computer on the floor. You know don’t mind the guy camping out in the house, so you know it’s going to be kind of hard to show this house right.
Well, so she started showing the house and so we’re like roger okay. Thank you. You got to go, and he just ignores this. So um sandra gives him a deadline. He gives him three weeks by this day. He agreed that hey on that monday, i’ll be gone.
Monday comes monday, goes he’s still there and it becomes apparent he’s not moving out. So we’re sitting on the couch late one afternoon, um sandra calls roger, i said, put it on. You know on speakerphone and of course, i’m trying not to get involved because sandra throughout the process and said andy.
You cannot get involved because i wanted to get involved and i only had one tool you know i want to use my tool and she’s like you can’t use your tool. So so they have this um conversation speakerphone and he is so rude to saying.
I’Ve never heard anyone speak to my wife. This way i was so angry and she’s kind of leaning this way and i’m reaching for the phone. I just want to take the phone and say and she’s like no, no, no and he’s he’s he’s saying i’m going to sue you.
You can’t kick me out. The law doesn’t allow you to kick out a renter, i’m like renter. That assumes rent. I mean there’s not this guy’s paid nothing he’s taken advantage of an 80 year old woman, we’re trying to close her house and we put money in the bank because there’s a monthly gap between her pension, social security to stay in this assisted living place, and he Is so rude to sandra okay? What how do you? How do you think we responded to all this? I mean: what’s our response? Well, you can imagine, because you can imagine yourself, do you know what we did and this is kind of embarrassing and i’m not even going to give you the details.
It’S so embarrassing. We sat around day after day night after night, coming up with the most devious, manipulative ways you can imagine to get roger out of the house. I’M telling you there were times.
We just listened to each other and think who are we who have we become, but we realize what was happening, we’re we’re starting to become like roger we’re becoming like him. We don’t even like him, it was all we talked about to the point.
Honestly. It was as if roger had moved in with us, because it so focused our attention every single day. How do we get roger out of the house before this closing? We couldn’t even believe somebody would give us a contract and give if that was a contract on the house, because they’d never seen the house empty, because there’s a guy camping out in one of the bedrooms now in part, two i’m going to come back and tell You how that story resolved so yeah.
I know okay, okay, sorry to do that. But but the point point is simply this, and you know this: it is so difficult. It is so difficult to be good to people who just aren’t good right. It’S no matter what kind of faith you have in the moment.
It is so difficult to be kind to people who, just it seems like in their heart, they’re, just unkind or sensitive to people who are insensitive. The golden rule, it just doesn’t seem to apply. You know the golden rule do unto others as you would have others.
What is it do yeah do unto you, and this is great until somebody mistreats you and it’s great until somebody mistreats me or mistreats, somebody that i love and for me in this particular story. It’S a it’s a you know, double-edged sword because i loved alice and i wanted us to help alice.
But i was watching my wife be mistreated at the same time and i’m supposed to do under roger, as i would have roger do unto me and suddenly the golden rule is out the window. Now it’s the iron rule. I just just made this up, but you understand the iron rule, it’s doing to others as they have done unto you right, and this doesn’t only feel natural.
It doesn’t only just feel natural to treat people the way they’ve treated us in the moment. It just seems right, it just seems fair and in fact, if i were to go into detail about some of these crazy ideas, we had to get roger out of the house after hearing just the part of the story, i’ve told you you’d be like well yeah.
I mean why why wouldn’t you do all that? It just seems right, it seems fair, it seems just it seems. Scenes seems even and then there’s this, and maybe this is a little close to home, because maybe this is maybe part of your story or maybe part of your story growing up or maybe it’s part of the story of your first marriage when, when we’re mistreated in A relationship and we feel powerless to do anything about it again, we’re off balance we compensate, but sometimes we compensate not in the relationship with the person that threw us off balanced you’ve.
Seen this happen, we compensate in another relationship we compensate somewhere or with somebody else, i’ll i’ll. Take it out on you, because i can’t take it out on him. I can’t take it out on her. I can’t get back at them.
I can’t go back into the office and take it out on the people that mistreated me at work, but i’ve got all this energy, i’m off balance and then it’s due unto others it’s doing to others and someone else is done, unto you so round and round And round it goes, and you know what we’ve all been there at some level, maybe not a big level, but at some level we’ve all you know been a part of this dynamic.
So here’s the question: here’s what we’re talking about! What do we do? I mean what do you do about the mean people? Maybe it was your ex? Maybe it’s a neighbor, maybe it’s a boss, a sister, a sister-in-law and you you’re, just there’s just no way to extricate yourself from the relationship, because the nature of the relationship but they’re just mean – and it’s fun i’ll admit it.
It’S fun to daydream about getting even, but the problem of course is – and you know this – is that getting even makes us even make getting even makes us even with someone that we don’t even like it makes us like someone that we dislike.
So what do we do? You can’t ignore them right, that’s impossible, and if you ignore them, you know what they do right. They just keep chipping away chipping away chipping away and eventually we break and we react and then it’s like we’ve, given them even more power.
Over us, so ignoring them isn’t the way forward and getting even isn’t the way forward, but fortunately there’s a third option: it’s the third option that it’s not intuitive, it’s a third option that actually decreases their power over us and, honestly, it’s the third option that allows Us to guard and protect our hearts and it positions us when this is said and done to tell a much better story.
Of course, the way forward is taught and modeled by jesus, but it’s also modeled in the old testament by a relatively unknown individual, whose life intersects with the life of david. Now many of us, if you grew up around church or in church, are familiar with who king david was, but this event doesn’t take place when he’s king david or even shepherd boy david.
This event takes place when he is fugitive, david um after david as a young as a teenager, killed goliath. You remember that story um he becomes a hero, a national hero in israel, ancient israel and so king saul.
The king at the time draws him in close because david’s a leader he’s a national hero. You want to keep your friends close. You want to keep your potential rivals even closer, and then king saul gets word that some rogue prophet has gone to david’s home as a little boy and anointed david to be the next king of israel.
Now this is a real problem if, if you’re already the king – because not only do you want to finish out your years as king, you want your son in his case jonathan, to become the next king, so this is now now.
This is messing with this dynasty. So king saul tries to kill david david escapes, he becomes a fugitive he’s living out in the wilderness. He’S had to leave his family over time because he’s a leader he attracts other men like him.
Other angry mistreated, outlaws they’re outcasts from society. They have no place to call home and they’re all angry, because each of them have their own story of being mistreated and the injustice that had happened under king saul so and david’s got all this anger.
And all this frustration and, of course, like any of us, he’s looking for a place to sort of take it out somebody to take it out on, because king saul is untouchable, and in this story he finally finds a victim and that’s where the story picks up.
So i’ll read part of the story and then we’re going to stop in the middle pick it up next time. Here’S what happens a certain man. This is the first samuel, 25 and samuel is essentially the david’s biographer.
In a sense, a certain man in moan who had property there in carmel was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats, you know, and you read this in ancient times just like for us, it’s like what would you do with the thousand goes anyway.
So yeah a thousand goes. He had car. You know garage is full of cars. Think of it that way, he had three thousand sheep um, which he was shearing in carmel and his name. His name was nabal. Now sheep shearing season in ancient times.
This is when wealthy people found out how much wealthier they had just become. This was like it’s like a financial report, an annual financial report he’s about to find out where he is financially um, whether or not he turned a profit and, if so, um how much his name’s nabal tex goes on and says this.
His name was nabal and his wife’s name was abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman and her, but her husband was harsh and mean in his dealings. In fact his his name. His name actually means heavy, and this hebrew word here actually means heavy.
He was basically a pain to deal with. He was a burden to deal with. He was in fact the text tells us he was just a mean person. Uh text continues, while, while david and his men were in the wilderness, he heard that nabal was shearing sheep.
So he’s like hey this rich guy is about to get richer, so he sent 10 of his young men and he said to them. I want you to give nabal a message: go up to nabal at carmel and greet him in my name. So when you show up, let everybody know you’re coming in the na in david’s name and say to him greet him.
This way say long life to uniball, good health to you and your household and good health to all that is yours. This was a formal ancient. Greeting that basically said, i come in peace and then make sure you give him the message and here’s the message when your shepherds, when your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them the whole time they were at carmel.
Nothing of theirs went missing. In other words, while your shepherds were out watching over their flocks by night night after night after night during that season, our men were all around them all the time and we never stole anything so there’s a sense in which your profit, your profit, is due.
In part to our protection, not only do we not allow our men to steal anything from you, we didn’t allow the other rogues in the area to steal anything from you as well, and he said, and if you don’t take my word for it, the message continues.
This way ask your own servants and they’ll. Tell you therefore be favorable toward my men since we come at a festive time and please, if you would, please give your servants and your son david, whatever you can find for them.
In other words, you’re going to have extra, we kind of helped you create that extra. If you wouldn’t mind sharing with us, that would be. That would be great. So when david’s men arrived, they went to carmel when they arrived.
They gave nabal this message in david’s name and then they waited and they waited and they waited so anyway. He keeps them waiting, but eventually the nabal sends his answer, or perhaps he comes out and gives the answer himself.
It’S not clear. The ball answered. Here’S what he said, the ball answered david’s servants, who is this david? You come in david’s name, who is david? Who is this son of jesse, so he knew who david was but he’s like.
You know what yeah we’ve heard of david and you think he’s such a big deal he’s not such a big deal. Who is this? Guy? Hey come on he’s just one of many many servants are breaking away from their masters these days, your master is a nobody.
Your master is an outlaw. I didn’t ask for his help. I didn’t need his help. I don’t owe him anything. So, no, i’m not going to share with david and his band of merry men. You are dismissed why he says why.
Why should i take my bread and water and the meat i have slaughtered from my shearers and give it to men coming from you know: where did you come from again so no you’re dismissed so david’s men turned around and they went back and when they arrived, They repeated every word and then david said to his men: oh well, it was worth a try.
No david actually said to his men. Each of you strap on your sword, so they did and then an interesting detail in the text and david strapped his on as well. In other words, you mess with me and you will see you mess with me and you will pay now.
There’S a reason. I think why the author highlights david arming himself with his sword, because david’s sword was like no other sword. David’S sword was actually a reminder that he did not need to return.
Evil for evil david’s sword was actually a reminder that he did not need to take matters into his own hands. In fact, i’m just curious. Do you know where david got his sword? Anybody goliath, that’s right.
He got a sword from goliath. So goliath. Sword is a visual aid of god’s promise of protection and provision to david god had chosen him. God had raised him up as a teenager. God had anointed him as king.
He did not need to take matters into his own hands of anybody on the planet. At that time, david was the one person who could turn to god for help, and god would in fact intervene on his behalf. But david is hurt, david’s angry and he can’t see any of that and to him it’s just an oversized sword.
The story that goes with the story he’s forgotten. The story, he’s forgotten god’s provision because he’s so angry and he’s so hurt and he redirects his frustration with king saul who’s untouchable toward nabal, so about 400 men.
This is amazing. About 400 men went up with david 400 men. Okay, this was an overreaction of epic proportion. This was going to be a massacre. You’Ve heard, we’ve all heard that hurt people hurt people.
This is a case of hunted people hunt people, so he sets out – and it’s so interesting, because the biographer once again lets us get inside david’s head. He begins internally to build up a head of steam to build his case.
He’S he’s going to build a case to justify what he’s not 100 sure he should be doing you ever ever. Do that hey, you know andy. I got an idea. I think this was sanders. Idea: hey: let’s go into the house when roger’s, not there and slice his air mattress fold, it up, put it on the street with his clothes in his computer and change the locks.
That might have been my idea anyway. You just you just visualize. You know what can we do to get back at this person that has done so much to us. In fact, here’s what the biographer says that david had just said to his guys.
It’S been useless all my watching over this fella’s property kind of building up his case in the wilderness, so that nothing of his was missing all this i’ve done for him. Think of all the things i’ve done for him.
Think of all the nights. We stayed up. Think of all the things we could have stolen. Think of how wealthy we could already be. But what has he done? He has paid me back evil for good. Then he he, you know he invites god into the equation.
May god deal with me, be it ever so severely if by morning i leave one male of all who belong to him alive. In other words, i’m gonna murder, him i’m gonna kill his male servant and i’m gonna kill his sons.
That’Ll teach him to treat me this way, so we’re gonna pause, the story there, here’s what we have so far. We got two characters: uh, we have two responses and we have no hero right i mean we have nabal.
We have david evil for good david. Did good, he responded with evil david who’s about to do evil for evil. Nabal is somewhat maniacal and david is about to be predictable, but i mean who could blame him for what he’s about to do, and sometimes again it just seems like evil for evil.
Is the only option turns out, as i said earlier, it’s not there’s a third option, we’re going to talk about that in part two, but here’s what i want you to do between now and part two. I want to give you four questions to think about the question number one is this: do you want to be even with someone you don’t even like? No, i already know the answer to this question.
No, we don’t, but our natural response to mean people oftentimes is an attempt to get even with people. We don’t even like to be like someone that we would readily admit that we that we dislike the question number two.
Wouldn’T you rather be ahead? I mean. Do you want to get even with someone you don’t even like or wouldn’t you rather be ahead? Wouldn’T you prefer to be un, unlike the person or the people that you dislike, and this is, as i said earlier, this is so not intuitive, but here’s the thing and when i say it you know it’s true.
Unlike any other arena of life, you actually relationally pull ahead by refusing to get even you actually pull ahead by refusing to get even – and that leads to a third question – that we ask a lot around here within several different contexts.
And the third question is this: when this is nothing more than a story, you tell what story do you want to tell when your response to this current relationship there’s nothing more than a story, you tell what story do you want to tell do you want to Tell the story that i ended up just like the person that i disliked, because i allowed them to infuriate me into acting just like them.
It’S not a good story. It’S not the story that any of us want to tell and then the fourth question. The fourth question is the on-ramp to the solution. The fourth question is the on-ramp to pulling ahead, and the fourth question sets us up and puts us in this uncomfortable space that we know we probably should step into and if you’re a jesus follower, if you’re christian, you know with certainty, you’ve been called to step Into but it’s so uncomfortable, the fourth question is this: what would it look like, and you don’t have to commit to this – you just have to have an internal conversation.
What would it look like to return good for evil, not just refuse to react or to react in like kind, but to be kind, not just refuse to be bad, but to take seriously the words of jesus, because he was so direct about this.
I mean this. You know a lot of things. Jesus said we have a hard time figuring out this. This is too clear. He said i want you to do good to those who mistreat you don’t just put up with them. Don’T just forgive them, don’t just ignore them.
Don’T just try not to be like them. Jesus says. No, that’s that’s not enough. I want you to think through how to do good to those who mistreat you, because jesus knew that doing good to people who have not been good to us is ultimately what frees us but protects our heart.
Getting even is natural. It’S predictable. Jesus has invited us to be unpredictable. Jesus has invited us to do something extraordinary. It’S as if he’s saying, don’t be predictable, don’t write a predictable story, write a remarkable story, write that story that’s worth telling and what will determine whether or not that story is worth telling is not what the other person does, because you have no control over that It is 100 right here in our decision, whether or not to respond either in like kind or to be kind to do good for those who have mistreated us remarkable begins with an honest answer to this question.
What would it look like? What would it look like to return good people? What would it look like to do good to the person who has mistreated you because you don’t pull ahead by attempting to get even, and we will pick it up right there next time in part, two of me: hey thanks so much for watching.
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