Confrontation can really make me nervous. I am very happy when all around me are getting along well, and everyone’s happy. But when conflicts arise and I begin to sense the tension, I get nervous. And my flight instinct kicks in.
Does that sound like you, too?
We are commanded to “seek peace, and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14) And I’m certainly good with obeying that command.…until I’m the one who got angry or upset. (But we won’t go there today. 🙂
And even then it’s very hard for me to take the steps necessary to resolve conflict. Most of the time I’d rather just push it aside and go on.
But sometimes confrontation is necessary. And the right thing to do. Such as in the…
Restoration of one overtaken in a fault.
In our reading this week, we read this verse—
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
Sometimes confrontation is needed for the sharpening process of Christian edification and growth. Friendships are good for providing this sharpening and smoothing of our rough edges and thereby aiding in our growth.
But it takes bravery and compassion and a spirit of meekness to confront someone with their fault in such a way as to bring about their edification and not their destruction…or the destruction of your friendship.
I remember an instance when I was in high school. I was talking on the phone with my best friend when she spoke up and gently said, “Teresa, you sure are being critical.”
At first, I denied it. But deep down I knew she was right. And later admitted it to myself and repented.
I often think about that conversation. And admire my friend’s bravery and honesty with me. What might I have continued on to become, had she not spoken up when…and how…she did?
If we shy away from confrontation, how will we ever fulfill God’s command in Galatians 6:1?
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Restoration of a brother or sister in Christ requires that we go to that person in order to speak with them. And be used of God to help them see their fault, their error. God wants us to be not only spiritual enough and able, but also ready and willing to go and confront when necessary.
I regret that I lost a friendship years ago because I lacked the bravery, the spiritual fortitude, the willingness, to go to that friend, and tell her her fault that was affecting our friendship. Instead of confronting her and being honest with her, I let the friendship die. I wish so much that I had, first of all, not let the issue go on as long as I did. And second, that I had been brave enough to address the problem with her openly and honestly.
I can’t be sure our friendship would have survived, but maybe it would have. But what hurts even more is wondering how much damage I might have done in her life and spiritual walk by my disobedience to God.
I do know she is out of church and has been for a while. And that I have lost all influence in her life. I did try years later to reconnect with her, but evidently it was too late. Sad. I know.
Confrontation is not only needed for restoration of one overtaken in a fault, but may also be necessary for…
Resolution of conflict.
Confrontation may be necessary in order to resolve issues and clear the air between friends, family members, or even acquaintances. Someone has said or done something that either hurt you badly or made you angry.
And it’s time to deal. Before someone explodes. And certainly before any reproach can be brought upon the ministries of Christ. (2 Corinthians 6:3)
Jesus tells us how to handle these situations—
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Matthew 18:15-17
Jesus gives us the way to resolve conflicts among ourselves.
First, just between the two of you. And notice, this isn’t after we’ve spread our hurt feelings around by talking to others about the situation.
Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Proverbs 25:9
Then, if necessary, go back and confront again taking someone else with you. And then, if the conflict is still unresolved, we are to take the matter (if it is such that warrants this step) before the church.
And you know what, even if our efforts do not resolve the matter, we can know that we honestly tried to do the right thing. And move on.
Knowing that we are only responsible for our actions. Not for their responses.
Confrontation is hard for some of us. But we can do it. If we go in Jesus’ name, prayed up, filled with His Spirit and meekness, and desiring a godly outcome…restoration.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13
May we who hate conflict and confrontation truly believe this verse and obey the Lord’s command to seek resolution and the restoration of relationships when problems arise. As well as, the restoration of our fallen brothers and sisters in Christ.
Confrontation doesn’t have to be nerve-racking if we will just follow God’s prescription for it, relying on Him to do His work in the hearts of all involved.
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT
Are you as nervous about confrontation as I am? Are you facing conflict right now? How do you plan to go about resolving the issue? If you have a story about confrontation, feel free to share it below. Your story could be used to help someone else know how to proceed in resolving their conflict. Or, know how to talk to someone who is overtaken in a fault right now.