We all know people who are difficult. We meet them where we work and where we live. They make everything, well, difficult.
It is hard to get things done when we have to work with difficult people. Instead of smooth sailing, our boat seems to be stuck in a perpetual storm, and we have to spend inordinate amounts of time keeping excess water out of the boat, lest we drown.
What causes people to be difficult? The Bible identifies two reasons: self-seeking and envy.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive [literally, easily entreated], full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:13-4:1, NIV).
Those who are self-seeking think about themselves more than others, and as a result they are unwilling to help others when needed. Instead of being easily entreated and considerate, they consider their own interests above all. It is not a recipe for harmony.
Paul provides a solution how people can become easy to work with:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Phil 2:1-5, NIV).
Humility is the answer to self-seeking. Humility causes us to consider the interests of others and as a result we become one in spirit and purpose. Thus united, we are always ready to help others as we seek to maintain that unity, instead of seeking to please only ourselves at the expense of others.