4 Ways Jesus Approached Disappointed People

Jesus dealt with an awful lot of disappointed people. 4 ways He approached them to preserve relationshipsWe all know the old saying, “You can’t please everybody”.  That is true in business, in ministry and in life.  No matter what you do, someone is going to be disappointed.

Sometimes that disappointment is justified.  If we don’t live up to a promise, or we make a costly mistake, we have failed to meet expectations and need to do our best to make up for it.

But often, we’ve done everything “right” and with the best of intentions, and still … somebody’s expectations have not been met and they are unhappy.

I find it interesting that Jesus, who lived a perfect, sinless life, managed to disappoint an awful lot of people.  Mary and Martha were disappointed that He didn’t arrive in time to heal Lazarus. The Jewish leaders were disappointed that He didn’t point an accusatory finger at an adulterous woman.  Even His disciples, His closest friends and allies, were disappointed that He had no interest in setting up a military kingdom on here on earth.

So how did Jesus deal with all these disappointed people?  And is there anything we can learn about dealing with the disappointed people in our own lives?  I found four things that Jesus did consistently in these situations.

Show Compassion and Preserve Relationships

I can only imagine the scene when first Martha and then Mary confronted Jesus.  Their brother, Lazarus, had been dead for three days and they were convinced Jesus could have prevented his death.

Martha, the more practical and direct sister, marched out to the edge of the city to meet Jesus and confront him.  Mary, the more emotional sister, fell weeping at His feet.  With these disappointed peopletwo distraught women hurling accusations at Him, it would seem easy for Jesus to be defensive and shut himself off from them.

But, of course, he didn’t. He reminded Martha their relationship was based on his divine nature as the resurrection and the life.  The Bible says He was “deeply moved and troubled” and He wept with Mary. (John 11:33-34)

When we are confronted by disappointed people, we can preserve the relationship with them by identifying with their pain and frustration.  Often just acknowledging someone has been harmed takes the sting out of the situation. Most people long to be heard and if we can walk just a moment in the pain with them, it will help them move forward.

Stay in the Present and Let Go of the Past

Often, disappointed people will want to continually visit the past and go over and over the things that went wrong.  But when Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees, he would have none of that.

When they brought him an adulterous woman and asked what should be done with her, Jesus did not dredge up all of her past sins.  He asked the teachers of the law to look at their own present shortcomings. And he instructed the woman to move on, declaring, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

While it may make someone feel better to reconstruct the past and pinpoint the exact moment that someone did them wrong, it is neither helpful or healthy.  A focus on the present situation and specific actions to change it will produce more growth in them, and in you.

State the Truth and Choose Not to Argue

Some people just want to have an argument.  And they often base the argument on their own distorted view of the facts.  That’s what happened with some of Jesus’ disciples.

The resurrected Jesus met some unsuspecting followers on the road before they realized who he was.  They began to express their disappointment in the Messiah who did not save himself and set up an earthly kingdom.  In those three years they spent together, it seems they heard what they wanted to hear and not what He actually said.

Jesus used this as a time of teaching and “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27He spoke truth into the situation and did not argue about how they may have misunderstood.

Be Direct and Deal Openly

Jesus dealt with all of these situations head-on.  He did not isolate himself from the disappointed people, hoping to avoid a confrontation.  Or pull them off to a corner to handle them privately. He faced them directly, honestly and publicly.

All too often, we try to keep these things quiet and limit the damage, but in reality, when disappointment is left to fester, it will do far more damage in the long run.  Shining the light on the situation will help everyone put it behind them and grow from the situation.

Being in business or ministry, it is inevitable that some people will be disappointed in something we have said or done, usually based on their perception of what is “fair” or “right”.  If we can deal directly with the things the way Jesus did — show compassion, stay in the present, state the truth — people will feel that we have been fair with them and be less likely to let disappointment poison a working relationship or friendship.

How have you dealt with disappointed people?


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This week, I am linking up with Crystal Storms at #IntentionalTuesday, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Jaime Weibel at #SittingAmongFriends,  Susannah Kellogg at #FaithandFellowship, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Dawn Klinge at #GraceandTruth and Susan Mead at #DanceWithJesus, with Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, with Holley Gerth at #HeartEncouragement, with Carmen Brown at Salt & Light, with Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, with Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth

29 thoughts on “4 Ways Jesus Approached Disappointed People

  1. Christa this is great! It also came at a good time while I am trying to be peacemaker between family members…all while trying to keep peace in my own life. Thank you!

    Loved this….

    When we are confronted by disappointed people, we can preserve the relationship with them by identifying with their pain and frustration. Often just acknowledging someone has been harmed takes the sting out of the situation. Most people long to be heard and if we can walk just a moment in the pain with them, it will help them move forward.”

  2. YES! This is right up there with us acting like emotions are a wrongdoing when the Lord created them and has them too!! Thank you so much for this, especially this point: Jesus, who lived a perfect, sinless life, managed to disappoint an awful lot of people.

    Love all the tips. THANKS!! #RaRaLinkup

  3. Such brilliant advice, Christa! We look to Jesus as an example of how we should live each day of our lives, but I never thought of Jesus dealing with disappointed people. So true, and your points are practical and easy to apply to our own lives. Isn’t it amazing how God’s Word gives us the direction we need to handle tough circumstances the right way? Thank you for this valuable lesson:)

  4. Love this Christa! I wish I could just wave a magic wand and make disappointment disappear! Unfortunately it is inevitable and especially at this time of year. Thank you for sharing great wisdom and advice 🙂

  5. Sometimes we (I) disappoint (certain) people (in my family) by not understanding. While I have children and a husband to share certain things with (that I take for granted), another family member who is single doesn’t see it the same way and is lonely. I disappoint in my not being empathetic and compassionate. So many good nuggets of wisdom here-sometimes people just want to be heard, stay in the moment (don’t dredge up old stuff), listen, and be honest. Sometimes being direct is difficult, but speaking truth in love is essential for both parties to be heard. Good stuff.

  6. Christa, why have I never seen what is so obvious? I have to admit I’ve never thought about the people that Jesus disappointed. And then to think that Jesus was PERFECT and disappointed, why do I think I’m not going to disappoint folks. What excellent, wise counsel you offer.

  7. “When disappointment is left to fester, it will do far more damage in the long run.” So true, Christa! I love how you illustrated the choice we have when faced with disappointments by using the prophetess Anna.
    Thank you for these wise observations. From #livefreeThursday.

  8. Christa, This post is filled with such good information. I’m going to post this on my Searching for Moments facebook page and also stumble it on Stumbleupon. In the heat of the moment, it is difficult to respond to disappointed people correctly unless we are prepared. And this is excellent preparation! Thank you!
    Merry Christmas!

  9. I love that you said to not replay the past and to choose to not argue. Those are 2 great points. Both really are a choice for us, aren’t they? Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.

  10. Great truth & wisdom here as always Christa! Thanks for sharing & dissecting out what so many choose to ignore or shy away from-this will help many!

  11. It is encouraging to think that even Jesus, who was perfect, disappointed people at times, and these are great lessons you draw out about how to respond. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great advice! Giving people the chance to be heard and dealing with it openly are so important. And it is reassuring that even Jesus disappointed people! Visiting from the #RaRaLinkUp

  13. Ah … looks like we’re rubbing shoulders again this week at Holley’s, Christa! Thanks for this solid reminder on choosing how to deal with our sometimes seemingly endless disappointments in a way that would honor Christ.

    Blessings to you today!

  14. This post is packed with helpful advice! Very insightful. It’s exactly what I needed right now; I’ve been given a “disappointed” person to deal with on a regular basis, and these tips will help tremendously. Thank you!

    via Coffee for Your Heart linkup 🙂

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