If someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. —Galatians 6:1
Stubbornness means being unteachable, inflexible, holding firmly to your own opinion and not giving in. A stubborn person is incorrigible. They never improve, and they don’t seem to learn. They will not admit to a fault, and nothing seems to change their mind. Have I described you? Do people who know you best think this about you? The chances are, if two or more people have thought it, there may well be something to it.
However, there are two kinds of stubbornness: there’s the stubbornness that can flow from the Holy Spirit, and there’s the stubbornness that flows from the flesh. In other words, there’s the good kind of stubbornness and the bad kind. The good kind is where you have been persuaded of something by the Holy Spirit and stick to your guns.
I am talking, however, about stubbornness in the flesh. What are we like when left to ourselves? We find we are proud; we have big egos that don’t want to admit to a wrong. But pride has another side—insecurity. The person who has the biggest ego is equally the most insecure person there is.
What do you do if you have to cope with a person who is stubborn? First, you have to remember this verse. That means that you recognize that you also are vulnerable. Next, you have to get the person to face the facts. Then you must answer their questions honestly.
Yet, at the end of the day, only God can change a person. Sometimes the only way a stubborn person is dealt with is where God Himself brings them to the place where they are backed into a corner and there is only one way out. That is God’s gracious way of dealing with them. I know what it is to have God box me into a corner, leaving me with no choice. It is painful at the time, and yet I know it is God’s way of getting my attention.
Excerpted from All’s Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).