Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15
You confront because you care about the circumstance, the person, and/or the organization. Non-confronters are driven by fear, not care. They are fearful of rejection, of hurting someone’s feelings, of losing their position, even their job. Fear drives out care and replaces it with delayed dysfunction. A non-confronting culture is filled with fear, gossip, and resentment. A confronting culture, on the other hand, is safe, secure, and rewarding. You are praised for speaking your mind. Authenticity is encouraged, and you speak up because you strongly believe in the values of the organization. You are compelled not to compromise excellence by expedience, or value results over relationships.
So you take the time to speak your mind with respect. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. Your clarity in communication means you want to resolve any relational rubs with a better process or program. You confront because you care, so confront often. This keeps any wrongs from turning into resentments. Confront caringly, for this shows respect and that you want what’s best for everyone. Confront calmly and attack the issue, not the individual; this invites dialogue. The spirit of confrontation defines its effectiveness.
It is also important to get the facts before you confront. Take the time to understand the situation and the people involved. Clarification around the truth avoids misunderstandings and many times prevents major blow-ups. Without confrontation we assume inaccuracies that come back to bite us; phrases like, “I didn’t know you meant that,” or, “I didn’t understand, so I assumed…” Fact-finding keeps us from wrongly accusing, or at the very least, wrongly assuming. Teachable hearts accept truthful speech when it’s delivered in love. So, honor the person, as this increases their receptivity. Apologize for your insensitive or inappropriate actions, for this disarms the other person and promotes trust. In the same way, receive those who confront you.
If someone takes a chance to speak the truth in love, you are wise to receive it in humility. Truth is your friend, not your foe. The more you appreciate and comprehend truth, the more you value confrontation and its delivery of truth. Security in Christ invites confrontation wrapped in truth. Truth keeps you out of trouble and discerns the best options. Create environments that encourage this by being an example. Your willingness to receive truth and change changes others. Reward those who receive the truth properly, as this motivates authentic behavior. Surround yourself with those who speak the truth in love and those who humbly receive the truth, for this increases the probability of wise decision-making. Christ is the master of confronting with truth; so confront in the spirit and clarity of Jesus.
“The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, You know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:17).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the patience to find out the facts and the courage to confront another with the truth, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Application: Who needs me to bring clarity to a conversation or to relational expectations?
Related Readings: Proverbs 9:8; Ecclesiastes 7:5; John 8:32, 14:6; Ephesians 4:2