Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thank You For Being Such a Pain: Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People

"Thank You For Being Such a Pain: Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People" by Mark I. Rosen, PH.D. 

This book looks at the spiritual side of things assuming there is a Holy One, but is not a Bible study and is not written specifically for Christians. It instead draws from many religions. A discerning Christian who has spent time studying the entire Bible will quickly spot thoughts inconsistent with Scripture. While I do not share some of the beliefs presented and may not agree with every point, I found it very helpful in learning how to deal with an unpleasant person who frequently interrupts my day to complain about someone. There is a lot a Christian can glean from here, and there is also a lot to leave behind. The overwhelming theme is to realize there is a purpose when difficult people come into your life and to learn all you can from their behavior in an effort to make yourself a better person. 

The following are excerpts to give you a feel for the book:

"Tests are presented to us in various forms until we learn what we're supposed to be learning. That is why leaving as an option for dealing with difficult people isn't necessarily effective. Our difficulties keep following us until we have learned the spiritual lesson that is being presented. Remember, what happens to us isn't random." 

"Most of the time, the tests we are given in life are not easily recognized. If our spiritual tests and the lessons we were suppose to learn were obvious, then passing the test would only prove that we know how to do what we were suppose to do. It wouldn't show spiritual learning and character development, just our willingness to obey and follow the rules. If we knew about our tests in advance, the element of choice would be taken away. We need to make our spiritual choices through our own free will not because we are fearful of the consequences of breaking the rules."

"While we are being tested, life can be terribly painful, and the meaning of our challenge is usually elusive. It may seem like the height of insensitivity for someone to tell us that our difficulties and suffering are for our spiritual betterment."

"But once we have successfully passed a spiritual test and mastered the lesson it presents, we receive the blessing of insight. We are able to look back and see what it was that we needed to learn, as well as the reason why we needed to learn it. We come to understand the role of the difficult people in our life and why a particular person was sent to teach us. It might takes days or a lifetime, but eventually, we do get an answer to the "why" question that has been weighing down our hearts for so long."

"If we are indeed made in the image of God, then to treat another person with disrespect is to desecrate a holy image. That is the core truth of the Golden Rule."

"If the ultimate spiritual lesson is love, anything less means that there is still work to do."