Last week I introduced the idea that “grace” is not only shown when we overlook an offense, or even when we hold our tongue and patiently pray for God to convict the other party, but it’s also shown when we confront our offender.
But how can that be considered “grace”—to confront someone?
Doesn’t that sound harsh? Or even worse . . .
Doesn’t it “feel” very wrong to call it “grace”—especially when we’re the ones being confronted?
I certainly don’t want to give the wrong impression that anytime we confront others, it is our friendly pal, I affectionately dubbed (last week) “Connie” for short, that shows up. Sometimes Connie’s evil twin, “Conrad” shows up when we confront others. That would be when we leave graciousness out of the equation.
But when we show the face of grace—nicknamed Connie—in times of confrontation, we will strive to be gracious. In other words . . .
[bctt tweet=”We strive to let Christ be the face that our offender ultimately sees. #confrontingrace #reflectChrist” username=””]
Believe it or not, the Bible tells us that there are actually times when grace is shown through confrontation. And I’m not just talking about a gracious attitude being shown, though that’s certainly one of the ways.
Aren’t we showing “grace” when we teach our children the right way to act in life and relationships? To ignore their missteps and sins would be uncaring at least and despicable at worst. It’s the same with others in our lives.
However, it is important to know when and if to confront.
Here are three criteria that I think are essential to this decision:
- The offense has created a wall between you and the other person or caused you to feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time.
- The offense is causing serious harm (to God’s reputation, to you, to others, or to the offender).
- The offense is part of a destructive pattern.
If you answered “yes” to any of these options, then you probably need to move toward confronting.
The Bible gives us a proper and gracious protocol for confrontation. I’d like to focus on only one step this week and unpack the others in the weeks to come. The first is found in Matthew 18:15,
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
If the sin of your offender fits at least one of the options I shared above, then it’s quite possible that the most gracious thing you could do for that person is to talk with him/her about it.
But before you go, be sure to pray, pray, pray!
1. Pray as a way to process your feelings, asking God to give YOU insight into your part, as well as asking God to soften your heart toward your offender.
2. Pray as a way to prepare your offender’s heart—asking God to soften his/her heart and open your offender’s eyes to any sins. (I talked about this in my last post.)
3. Pray just before you meet with your offender, and if he/she is willing and open to it, pray with him or her before you begin to talk.
[bctt tweet=”Prayer is like the oil that softens this confrontational conversation. #prayersoftens #confrontationinmarriage” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Basics of the First Step when Confronting . . .
1. Go privately to your offender.
Never start the confrontation process publicly. Instead, help your offender to “save face” by being sensitive to his or her feelings.
2. Stick with one issue.
Never come at your offender with a long list of wrongs he or she has committed. This will not only overwhelm your offender, but will surely fire up defensiveness as well. Then you’ll both be tempted to argue, rather than to remain calm.
3. Maintain a tone and attitude that communicates graciousness and humility.
This might be the most important of these steps, but cannot be achieved with out prayerful preparation and complete reliance on God.
4. Realize that this step may require more steps.
Wouldn’t it be great if our offender “listened” and was “won over” after being confronted? (Mt. 18:15) Sadly, this isn’t the case all that often. So be realistic, while also hopeful and persevering in this process.
What other “steps” would you add to those I’ve shared regarding confrontation?
What would you add that should be avoided in times of confrontation?
Be sure to scroll down to comment below!
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