Overcoming Drama-Makers - Lessons Learned

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Overcoming Drama-Makers - Lessons Learned
Today, we’re going to continue in the series we’ve been in called No More Drama. What I want to do this week is take you through some final steps that summarize what to do with the drama makers in your life.
I’m calling this message Keeping the drama-makers from making you crazy. Before we look at those steps I want us to just pause and review what is a drama maker.
I could give you a list of a hundred different kinds of people. But let me give you six of the most common. Don’t look at them, don’t embarrass them, but these are different people that we have to work with and we have to live with and we have in our neighborhoods, our communities, soccer games and church and everywhere. How do we deal with these different kinds of people?

Characteristics of Drama-makers...

1. Demanding

These are the little dictators of life. The little Putins. They’re bossy, they’re pushy, they’re controlling in every area. They’re intimidating. They dominate every conversation. They turn every conversation into a power struggle. They make unrealistic demands on your life, on your time, on your schedule and they just push, push, push. They’re little dictators.

2. Disapproving

These are what I call the nitpickers. They are picky, picky, picky. They’re highly critical. Your best is never good enough. They always want more. They tend to be negative. They tend to be judgmental. They’re unpleasable. They’re perfectionists. They love to point out your mistakes. Disapproving crazymakers, no matter what you do it’s just not good enough. That drives you crazy. The nitpickers.

3. Deafening

They’re loud. They are loud mouths. I call these people the megaphones of life. They are loud and they like to talk and they like to talk often in 120 decibels. If you get a megaphone on the phone, you’re not going to get off for at least 15 minutes because they just keep talking and talking. And they talk you into surrender! To finally just go, “I give up. Ok. I give up. You’ve talked me into the ground!” They absolutely love to argue. These are the megaphones.

4. Destructive

These are people who have uncontrolled anger. I call them the volcanoes. We’ve all had volcanoes in our lives. It’s very easy to see them. You never know when they’re going to erupt. But when they erupt you know it. They’ve got a temper like Mount Vesuvius or like Mount Saint Helens.

5. Discontented

They get their feelings hurt very, very easily. They’re very touchy. They’re very thin skinned and they whine a lot. I call them the Cry Babies. We all know cry babies. They have a daily pity party. They invite themselves and they like to moan and mourn, “Poor Me!” And when they whine they kind of get that nasally sound, whining all the time. And it just grates on you like fingernails on a blackboard. These are the crybabies, the discontented crazymakers. They are never happy.

6. Demeaning

These people are the smart mouths. The smart mouths are the ones who are always running off at the mouth, and they’re rude and they’re insulting and they use caustic language. Maybe they cuss. More than just cussing and complaining and caustic language, they’re bubble busters. They like to bust your bumble. They like to tear your dream down. They love to deflate you. They love to tear you down. They get particular joy in telling you how you don’t measure up. They can be disrespectful and they can be petty and they can be mean. These are the smart mouths.
And by the way, people who are rude all the time, they’re rude because they have enormous insecurities. The more insecure person is, the more rude they tend to be.
What I want to do this weekend is I want to take you through a summary of verses of what the Bible says about how do you deal with these kinds of people in your life. I’m going to give you six steps.
I’ve discovered in my own life that each step tends to get a little bit harder than the one before. The first one’s hard but the second one is even harder. And the third one is even harder. But this is the way you deal with difficult people. This is the way you counter the drama-makers in your life according to the Bible.

How to cope with the drama-makers in your life...

1. Refuse to be offended.

I refuse to be offended. What I mean by that is I don’t take it personally. No matter what they say, no matter what they do, no matter how outrageous their behavior is, no matter what they insult me with or how they act or react or the way they look with their body language.
When people are rude they are revealing themselves not you. They’re telling you what’s in them not what’s in you. When people are mean, when people are controlling, they’re not saying anything about you. It doesn’t say anything about you. It says about who they are. It tells you what their problem is. So don’t be offended by it. It’s not about you. They’re just a crazymaker.
The reality is there’s a lot in life you could get offended by. In fact, there’s a lot of things in life you ought to be offended by. I get offended by a lot of things. I’m offended by injustice in the world, when people go to bed hungry at night and a lot of us have so much. I’m offended by racism. I’m offended by babies whose lives are taken before they’re even born. I’m offended by exploitation of sex and women who are exploited for sex trafficking and things like that. There are a lot of things you ought to be offended by.
When it comes to personal relationships, God says get over it. As much as you can, try not to be offended by other people. In other words if you wanted to you could have such a thin skin everything everybody does offends you. And you’re going to be unhappy most of your life. So you’ve got to learn that emotional and spiritual maturity is largely determined by how you treat those who mistreat you.
How do I handle those kinds of people?
One of the keys to happiness in life – not the only one, but one of the keys to happiness in life is you need to develop a thicker skin and just not be offended by so many things.
How do I do that? How do I keep from taking personal offense at the drama-makers in my life? How do I keep from being offended by these people who are disapproving and destructive and demeaning and disconnected and demanding? How do I not get upset about these people?
One way is just consider the source: They’re a drama-maker– and try to ignore it as much as possible. The Bible says to do that.
Proverbs 12:16 NLT
16 A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.
The more you understand somebody’s background the more grace you’re going to show them. The people who you find the most difficult to deal with, the people who irritate you the most, the people at the office that are obnoxious and you know nothing about their background. So you don’t cut them any slack. You don’t know that maybe they were molested. You don’t know that maybe they were orphaned. You don’t know that they’ve gone through three marriages and their husband walked out on them three times. You don’t know their story. So you’re not cutting them any slack. You’re not showing them any grace.
Proverbs 19:11 NLT
11 Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.
What I’m talking about here is real love. In fact, the Bible says refusing to be offended by other people is actually an act of mature love. It shows you how much love you’ve got in your heart. The more love you have in your heart the harder it is to offend you on a personal basis.
The less love, the more insecure you feel, the easier it is to offend you.
Proverbs 10:12 NLT
12 Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.

2. Don’t wait for an apology to forgive them.

I think many of us have got some drama-maker in our life who has done some crazy, hurtful thing to us or maybe even more importantly to somebody that we love. In our minds we think, “I know the Christian thing to do is to forgive and so I will. I will forgive them as soon as they give me an apology, the right kind of apology. Then I will forgive them.”
The problem with that is, you’re still holding on to the hurt. The problem with that, in fact the truth of it is, they may never ask you for forgiveness. They may never say, I’m sorry. Because they’re a drama-maker. They don’t get it. Because they don’t get it they may not even realize what they’ve done. So you end up stewing over something, holding resentment over something, that they’ve long ago forgotten. And it’s eating you up inside.
Never hold on to a hurt, because resentment tears you up. They don’t even know about it. It’s not hurting them; it’s hurting you. Resentment is like you drinking poison hoping, it’s going to kill them. It doesn’t work. It never will work. So you just say, “Even before anything else happens, I’m going to decide right now; I’m not going to wait for anything else to happen. Right here, right now, maybe even tonight, I’m going to forgive them.”
And you also realize that some of those hurts that you and I are holding resentments over, there are many times people act foolishly. I’ve done this and you have too if you’re honest about it. We act foolishly toward other people and we don’t even realize what we’ve done. So you’re holding a resentment and they have no idea they’re even supposed to ask forgiveness.
Luke 23:34 NLT
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
Not everyone who is a drama-maker in your life, who bugs you, or even hurts you realizes what they’re doing. Oftentimes they’re responding to their own hidden pain and they don’t know that they’re hurting all these people around them.
So what do you do? When I have a hard time forgiving a drama-maker – I think we all struggle with this sometimes. We all struggle with forgiving. When I have a hard time, I remember what a hard time I gave God in forgiving me, and not accepting his forgiveness. I remember the great gift of his forgiveness.
Colossians 3:13 NLT
13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

3. Refuse to gossip about them.

This one is tough with drama-makers. You refuse to gossip about them. Let’s just admit it. When you have some drama-maker in your life and they’ve done the craziest thing and they’ve done it again it’s almost impossible not to get in the car, pull out the cell phone and call somebody: “You won’t believe what they just did!” In fact, you’re texting as they’re doing it! That’s what we do with drama-maker. We want to tell somebody else. We want affirmation from somebody else. It’s the most difficult thing in the world to let go of it. Instead we want to say, “You won’t believe what he/she just did.” It may feel good. It does feel good, let’s admit it, when we say that. But it’s unloving.
The Bible says love even your enemies.
Proverbs 17:9 NLT
9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
What’s gossip? One definition of gossip is sharing information with somebody who is not part of the solution or part of the problem. They might not have had anything to do with it, but you bring them into it so you can feel better about yourself. Let’s just be honest about it. Gossip, in its essence, is a form of retaliation. You’re getting back at them without talking to them. Instead you’re talking about them behind their back.
It is incredibly destructive. Gossip is incredibly destructive to churches. It is incredibly destructive to families. It is incredibly destructive to businesses. It is destructive to your life. It tears you up. It separates the closest of friends.
1 Peter 3:9 NLT
9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.
That verse that says, “Don’t insult somebody who insults you,” makes me think about a number of years ago a member of our church gave me a book. I collect books for my library. It was called Three Thousand Witty Put Downs. I read it from cover to cover and laughed uproariously. It was one of those laugh-your-head-off books. The only problem is as a pastor I can’t use it. All these great really repartee rejoinders and I can’t use it because the Bible says, “Don’t repay an insult with an insult.”
These are the steps to dealing with the drama-makers in your life. I refuse to be offended. I’m not going to take it personally. I’m going to consider the source – it’s the drama-maker. They may have all kinds of problems that I don’t even know about. And I’m not going to wait on an apology. I’m going to offer forgiveness even before you ask for it, even if you never ask for it, because you might not. Then… and this is even harder, I’m not going to gossip. I’m not going to talk about you to somebody else.

4. Refuse to play their game.

After I’ve done these other things I refuse to play their game. Drama-makers love to argue, and they love to debate. Because they love to get your attention. If you fall for this trap you’re going to start thinking, “If I could just clearly, logically explain to them… what they’re doing, then the light would come on in their mind and they would realize how self-destructive and how inappropriate their behavior or what they’re saying is. If I could just reason with them then they will say, ‘Yes! Thank you for helping me see that! Thank you so very, very much.’”
But here’s the point. Drama-makers don’t come to their position through reason so you can’t reason them out of it. It doesn’t work. You can’t talk people out of a behavior they didn’t talk themselves into. They got into that behavior because of an emotion, not because of logic. It’s motivated reasoning.
I’ve discovered this: People are either going to like you or not like you. If they don’t like you, you can’t make them like you. If they want to think a certain way, they’re going to think that way. And all the logic in the world isn’t going to change their mind.
There are lots of examples of this in the Bible that shows us how not to do this. But the master of it was Jesus Christ himself. Jesus did not play games with people. There were drama-makers in Jesus’ life. They were called the Pharisees. They were the religious authorities of those days and they hated Jesus. And they had motivated reasoning so they were always trying to trap him, always trying to get him to say the wrong thing, always trying to get him to make a mistake. They were always questioning, always probing, always playing games with Jesus – mind games. Jesus simply wouldn’t play their games.
Matthew 22:15 NLT
15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested.
Matthew 22:18–19 NLT
18 But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin,
[Sounds like some reporters I know.] Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, ‘Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me?’” Jesus wouldn’t fall for it. He would not be pulled in to their crazy-making games. He wouldn’t be drawn into an argument that he knew was going to go nowhere.
Another example of this is Jesus before Pilate. Pilate starts asking him all these kind of tricky questions. Like, “So you say you’re the king of the Jews. What is truth? Who are you really?” And the Bible says Jesus said not a word to Pilate. He wouldn’t even answer him. Wouldn’t even answer him on some of the questions.
Why? He said, I’m not going to play your games. You’re just trying to drag me into an argument.
As I said, people believe what they want to believe about you. If they want to believe bad things, they’re going to look for bad things about you. If they want to believe good things, they’re going to look for good things about you. Prejudice has its own reasoning. And you can’t reason with prejudice. You can’t talk people out of prejudice from a logical sense because it’s an emotionally-based decision. So save your breath. Don’t play games. Don’t waste your time.
I read this from Neil Stevenson today. “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the internet is a sucker’s game. Because they almost always turn out to be self-righteous 16 year olds possessing infinite amounts of free time. And they have a whole lot more free time than you do. And they’d be happy to go on and on and on in this argument as longs as you want.”
Just don’t play their game. Don’t get sucked into the argument. Don’t get sucked into the debate. Don’t get sucked in. Just walk on by.
Proverbs 26:21 NLT
21 A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.

5. Refuse to cave in.

You refuse to cave in, to give in to their demands, to what they want, the drama-maker who is demanding, demeaning, or derogatory or deafening or destructive or discontented or disapproving. Whatever we’re talking about here. The drama-maker in your life, you refuse to cave in.
You do not allow them to manipulate your life. Love is not allowing people to manipulate you. That’s unloving to you, it’s unloving to God, it’s unloving to them. Love is not giving in to manipulation. That is not the loving thing to do.
There’s not one verse in this book, the Holy Bible, that says God wants you to be a doormat. Not one verse. You say, “But aren’t we supposed to forgive? We just talked about love and forgiveness.” Yes, we did. But forgiveness and trust are two different things. We’ve covered this before. Forgiveness is instant and it is by grace. Trust is by works and it takes time.
Forgiveness is instant. Trust is earned. Does that make sense?
That’s why people don’t understand. When a leader has a moral failure some people say, “We should just forgive them and let them go on.” Oh, no. Forgiveness instant. Yes. But you don’t restore them to leadership instantly. They need to go through a restoration process.
2 Corinthians 11:20 NLT
20 You put up with it when someone enslaves you, takes everything you have, takes advantage of you, takes control of everything, and slaps you in the face.
What is Paul saying? God does not expect you to be a doormat. That is not a Christ-like thing. Meekness is strength under control.

6. Always take the high road.

Always take the high ground. Always do the right thing whether they do it or not. If they insult you, you treat them with kindness. If they’re unloving to you, you be loving to them. If they are resentful to you, you be forgiving to them. If they’re mean to you, you be nice to them. You always take the high ground no matter what the drama-makers do. Always, always, always take the high ground.
You cannot control what other people think about you. You cannot control what other people say about you. You cannot control what other people do about you. You have no control over those issues.
But you do have one hundred percent control over how you respond. And that’s your choice. And you can be better and respond with grace and love and kindness and that pleases God.
Romans 12:14 NLT
14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
Romans 12:17–18 NLT
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Proverbs 16:7 NLT
7 When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.
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