"If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother."
Confrontation goes both ways and nobody likes to be in that game.
The Biblical reality and necessity for confrontation seems to be lost upon many Christians. Conflict on differing levels is an inevitable part of everyday life, yet the act of confrontation is one of the least talked-about practical and spiritual disciplines in the Christian community.
In fact, there are many of you reading this article who are presently in conflict with one or more people; who are actively avoiding or ignoring people they are in disagreement with; who are debating whether or not (or how) they should confront someone regarding a sinful attitude they might have, or surrounding something they said or did; or who are talking to everyone else about the problem they have with so-and-so, except so-and-so.
Unfortunately, the act of confrontation is misunderstood by many Christians. Because the word “confrontation” carries with it such a negative and aggressive connotation, I would like to point out what a professor jokingly mentioned to our class: “It’s not confrontation, it’s care-frontation! We need to care-front others!” Cheesy as it may sound, the act of confronting someone should not be done out of a desire to cause harm to the other person or out of sinful motives such as hatred or revenge, but out of an honest desire to restore and to reconcile a relationship—whether between each other, or between them and God. Our desire should flow out of caring for the other person so much that we desire reconciliation. Confrontation is not for the purpose of condemnation, but restoration.
Yes, its much easier to ignore and allow God to work his magic.
But, have you ever thought that God may want you to work some magic by confronting that individual?
And what about if you are confronted? Do you become defensive easily, or do you stop, take a breath, and look at another perspective?
It's a tough subject, I know. But according to Matthew it needs to be done and is part of every day life.
I have a family member who washes her hands of anyone who disagrees with her train of thought. During these times an episode could last a day or a year. As she culminates her final thoughts on a particular episode she tries to drag in every other family member to "see" her side in hopes she can alienate them from the collective bond we all share.
Everyone is familiar with these escapades.
One day I decided to call and see if she would finally pick up the phone after a heated few weeks of calls from other family members expressing great concern.
She picked up. I calmly stated, "Why are you still fixated on so-and-so when you had nothing directly to do with what occurred? Why have you taken this burden upon your shoulders for another individual's hurt when they are trying to move past the pain? Now you are angry with him because he is still not on the anger rampage like you. He is acting in a Christ-like manner. You are not. You need to pick up and move on to other things you are directly correlated with. This had nothing to do with you."
Did she like it? Understand it? Probably not at that moment. And, yes, it took another few weeks to move past it. But a seed was planted and God's magic could now work.
Confrontation is not easy for the one doing the confronting, or the one being confronted, but it is an important part of spiritual growth.
This Week's Meditation:
Teach me to muster up faith to be confrontational and accept confrontations.
Help me to realize that confrontations are spiritual growth.
Teach me how I can confront and accept confrontation with your guidance.
Remind me that you are with me every step of the way.
Meditate on this for several minutes a day. Allow various thoughts to come into your mind. And realize God has you in his arms always.