Confrontation: Is it Emotionally and Biblically sound? I have no training in counseling but do take great solace in the principles and precepts found in the Bible. One verse than many folks will point to – supporting their view of avoiding confrontation is Romans 12:18. Let’s read it several translations to get a feel for what it really says: KJV: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.” NIV: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” New Living Translation: “Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” Bible Knowledge Commentary: “live in harmony with one another, when it is achievable.” Message: “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody.”
To keep a relationship together for the long haul, to live in peace and harmony with fellow workers, friends, family and our spouse have to do our part; sometimes we have to stretch to look for the beauty in someone; sometimes we have to discipline ourselves not to hit back.
However, sometimes the reality is – “it’s not my fault” – the source of the problem lies with the other person. Sometimes there just isn’t any beauty in a specific action or hurtful words to see. Unfortunately in this life we often find disruptive or addictive behavior lies in the other person and thus is beyond our control.
In cases like these you have two choices: enablement or confrontation. Personally I believe you can use the four principles of loving confrontation to reach agreement, to correct a bad situation and to restore the relationship.
Question: Confrontation – Is it to be avoided at all costs? The New Testament is filled with stories of Christ’s life when he was direct and straightforward with the religious leaders of the day. Many of Christ parables were a direct rebuke to the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Sanhedrin. In love Christ spoke directly to the rich young ruler, those living in sin and even Satan himself. It might be said that Jesus is the epitome of loving confrontation.
Before we go over the four points of Loving Confrontation there are a few things we may need to review first: Attitude, Timing, Purpose or Goal: The key to successful application of the four points of loving confrontation is to:
- Attitude: Check your attitude at the door. If you go into the problem solving mode with a selfish attitude, thinking of me, me, me and what I want you are doomed to failure.
- Timing: Right place, right time. Use you head, plan ahead, pick your spots when the person you need to confront is most likely to be willing to listen and engage you in conversation. Sad to say – this thing called the Internet, E Mailing and Tweeting may not be an effective medium for loving confrontation.
- Purpose or Goal: Are you looking to “straighten the person out” or is your goal to build and restore the relationship. Loving confrontation is not confrontation for confrontations sake.
What are the Four Points of Loving Confrontation?
- Affirm the Relationship – Sincerely assure the person that you genuinely care for them and it’s because of how you value them and the relationship that you are making this effort.
- State the problem in Personal terms- Do not assume the other party sees this or any issue as you do. Do not make any assumptions about their recognition of the issue, who caused it or how it has impacted you personally.
- Suggest Solutions – Be kind but be resolute. For the relationship to last there must be a solution to the problem.
- Re-affirm the Relationship – Thank them for listening to how you feel. Let them know you appreciate them and the time and patience they have given you to share your thoughts and feelings.
I have used these four points so often in life that they have become second nature to me. I’ll frequently look back at a conversation and reflect on how I used them in a natural and conversational way. I originally read these Four Points in a booklet that someone passed my way and I have long since lost it and can not remember the author. I have checked Google but with no luck. If you know the original source of these ideas please let me know so I can thank and credit them.
Good luck with all your relationships, even the problem ones.