Conflict and confrontation can be so challenging. When we are riddled with guilt or bitterness or regret, we remain shackled in chains that have already been unlocked for us. It has always been and will always be our choice to remain in those shackles or to cast them off and run in the freedom purchased for us by the forgiveness of God. He set things right. He initiated the forgiveness of all of our wrongs toward Him. And He is the One who makes us able to offer that kind of forgiveness to others, whether they realize they need it or not.
Whenever we see that a confrontation is necessary, it is vital that we first take the time needed to examine our own hearts and motives. The importance of this cannot be overstated and it is imperative that you can thoroughly answer the following questions:
- What is my motive in confronting this other person or group? If your answer reveals a desire for revenge, to put the other person in his or her place, or something of that flavor, please wait until your emotions have calmed down enough to handle the confrontation with respect for the other person.
- Am I ready to accept that the other person may not respond the way I would prefer? Take the time to release your expectations and desires to your heavenly Father. Going into the confrontation with an agenda can put both you and the other person on the defensive if things don’t go your way.
- Is this safe? The truth is that some confrontations are unwise because the emotions involved can escalate, putting one or both people at risk for harm—either verbally or physically. If it isn’t safe, don’t confront (or don’t go it alone). Common sense applies here.
- What do I hope to gain? If you recognize that the importance is that your voice be heard, and not that the other person respond in the way you desire, then you are probably ready to confront.
Remember: The truth may be painful, but it should never be hurtful. Check your motives, investigate your desires, evaluate your safety, and acknowledge your hopes before heading into a confrontation with another person. These steps will help you to get your thoughts together for a respectful confrontation with just about anyone. (Just about!)
You can’t have peace if you don’t understand grace.
Adapted from Why Can’t We Just Get Along by Shelley Hendrix, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013