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When People Rub You the Wrong Way

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When People Rub You the Wrong Way

God wants us to live together in unity.

Colossians 3:12-17

Much of living the Christian life comes down to how well we get along with other people. Scripture makes it plain that God places tremendous value on unity. Paul stressed unity repeatedly throughout his letters.

As you go through life you're going to find some people simply rub you the wrong way. Maybe they don't do anything specific—but there's something about them that gets under your skin. Also, there will be times when you find that you rub someone else the wrong way. You might not have anything against this person, but they've got something against you. No matter hard you try, they've decided in advance not to like you.

God wants us to live together in unity; Colossians 3:12-17 shows us how. First of all, you must be willing to...

1. Take the high road.

Paul says, (v. 12) Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved...

Ø  Paul reminds us of who we are—God's people, dearly loved by him, and expected to live holy lives. This is our identity, and it should determine how we act.

Ø  When we relate to other people, we should say to ourselves, "I don't know where this person is spiritually, but I know where I'm supposed to be in my spiritual life, and my attitudes and actions are going to reflect that."

Ø  If others want to stir up trouble at work, or cause friction in your family life, or create chaos within the church, that's their choice. You don't have to try to get even; you can take the high road to solving the conflict.

Ø  Taking the high road is a lot easier to do when you remember that you're not perfect either. You've made some mistakes.

Ø  That's why Paul said, (v. 14) Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Ø  Show others the same mercy you have been shown by Christ.

Ø  Don’t resort to name-calling and hostility with those who don't agree with us. You are one of God's people; let your actions show it.

2. Your actions are more important than your feelings.

Have you ever been ready to go to work in the morning, and when you opened the door, you're hit by a blast of winter air, and you realize you won't make it to the office without freezing? What do you do? You have two choices: you can either immediately grow fur, or you can go back inside the house and grab a sweater or a coat. Your skin is too sensitive for the cold, so you clothe yourself accordingly.

Paul said we're to do the same thing in our personal relationships. He said,

Ø  (v. 12) clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Ø  He used the phrase "clothe yourselves" because sometimes you have to cover your feelings by "putting on" the right behavior. Your feelings may be sending you in one direction emotionally, but you can clothe yourself with attitudes and behavior that move you in the right direction.

Ø  Spitting out a bunch of hostile, angry, mean, resentful words at someone is not going to help. It is not going to make you a better person, it is not going to make them a better person, and it won't improve your relationship. Just because you feel something doesn't mean you have to say it. And you don't have to let your feelings control your actions.

Ø  Paul said, "Put on compassion...put on kindness...put on gentleness." You may not feel these things, but you can "put them on"—at least temporarily. Some people say, "That seems hypocritical," but it's not. If you feel dislike for another person, and you show them kindness, you're not being hypocritical, you're being holy!

Ø  The Bible never tells us that we will be judged according to our feelings. It says again and again we are judged according to our actions.

Ø  You can't always control the way you feel, but you can control the way you dress. So, dress for success! Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Ø  When you deal with conflict you put your feelings aside and you put a layer of holiness between you and the other person.

Thirdly, remember to...

3. Pursue personal peace.

The key to developing peace in our relationships is to develop peace within ourselves first. It comes down to this: people who constantly stir up tension in relationships do it because they have no peace within themselves; and people who have peace have no desire to stir things up.

(v.15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

Ø  If you have not personally experienced the peace of God which passes all understanding, then it's no wonder that your relationships are rocky.

Ø  You can't give to someone else what you don't have.

Ø  You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on you, because they trust you. (Isaiah 26:3 NCV)  

Ø  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you...(John 14:1)

Ø  ...and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Ø  If people are constantly rubbing you the wrong way, there is a chance that they are not the problem!

Ø  Once you experience God's peace, you will lose all interest in conflict, you will lose any desire to be judgmental, you will lose the tendency to be "on edge."


Getting along with others may not always be easy, but it's possible. It happens when you make an effort for it to happen. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, and people will less likely rub you the wrong way.

Of course, you still might rub them the wrong way—even without trying. When that happens, take the high road...remember that your actions are more important than your feelings...include Christ in every conversation...and let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.

(c) Steve May

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