Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Comfortable Confrontation

Confrontation is never comfortable. It is never fun to have to confront a person, an issue or a fear in our life. When we think about confrontation our stomach churns, our palms sweat and we try to find any excuse we can to avoid it. But confrontation is necessary and healthy.

To clarify, confrontation from a biblical approach, out of love and humility is healthy. Confrontation out of blame, defensiveness or anger is decidedly unhealthy. I believe there are three aspects to healthy confrontation that will help us all to deal with the problems that come along in life in a productive and healthy fashion. These may not be new, but they are principles God has been showing me in my own life and ministry.

1) Deal with the conflict quickly.

Don’t let your moods simmer and your brain run away with thoughts of destroying the other person. When a long period of time passes between an offense (or a perceived offense) and the resolution, anger begins to set in. Scripture warns us that anger in our hearts gives the devil a foothold in our lives. We need to deal with issues quickly, not hastily, in order to avoid falling into the trap of sin.

2) Deal with conflict in love.

Remember that most of the time (not all the time) you and the person you are in conflict with have the same goals in mind. Typically conflict results from the process of how to achieve the goals, not the goals themselves. When we remember that we have the same thoughts in mind, we are able to move forward in resolving the issue.

3) Deal with conflict with a calm tone in your voice.

Yelling never solves anything. I was watching a TV show the other night where people were in conflict with an airline that could not get them on a plane. I was amazed at how people were yelling at the counter attendant because the weather would not allow the plane to take off. Now everyone loses it occasionally, but that approach rarely fixes the problem. God has called us to speak to one another in love. When we calmly explain ourselves tensions are lowered, emotions are calmed and we can seek reconciliation at a quicker pace.

So, how do you deal with conflict? Are you willing to take steps to resolve it, quickly, lovingly, and calmly?

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