John 3:16 (KJV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Confrontation is not something that I find easy. It is a compelling challenge for all of us. It is imperative to find the right approach, the right words for the challenge of confronting.
In fact, it is the right balance of skill, love, truth, and even emotional intelligence needed to get the positive outcomes needed in a confrontation.
- Emotional intelligence is about having self-awareness (Emotional self-awareness)
- Self-Management (Achievement orientation, adaptability, emotional self-control, positive outlook)
- Social awareness (Empathy, organizational awareness)
- Relationship management (Conflict management, coach, mentor, influence, inspirational leadership teamwork).
Those who are skilled at confrontation have at their disposal a great arsenal of approaches and strategies knowing when and how to use and knowing the appropriate time.
Please note, confrontation is not always the right course of action. Not every situation has to be confronted. Not every wrong statement or painful situation needs to be straightened out. I greatly admire the skill of those who know when to confront situations and are good at confronting in a loving way.
They have learned the critical nuance of how to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). When confrontation is necessary, how should you go about it:
There are forces of evil at work in our families, jobs, ministries, marriages, relationships in our lives today. I am proposing we need God, to help us confront with the goal of restoration (Galatians 6:1).
Confronting any concern can be messy business, and Jesus warns that we are to address our own flaws before addressing the flaws of others (Matthew 7:1-5). If we are to be successful at times of confrontation we must enter with a heart of prayer resolve.
We must by any means necessary remain prayerfully humble throughout confrontation process. Arrogance, anger, ambition, or ambivalence as motivations will only make matters worse. In fact, this will only abort all efforts of restoration and healing.
The tendency to avoid confrontation is always going to be a temptation for all of us. However, we must be careful in allowing critical areas of our lives left unaddressed and unresolved. Critical matters must be confronted but in a mature manner.
Don’t run away from confronting, and don’t allow it to overwhelm you. Rather do what you can with a heart of prayer! You can make a difference, in your family, relationships, jobs, and marriages.
As the great Apostle Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good,” (Romans 12:21). Prayer is most critical to confronting because through prayer you’ll also discover the right timing to move forward in your need to confront.
Confront in love
Confronting those who are in a position of weakness is relatively easy and many instances I feel predatory minded. Confronting those in positions of power over us, through their job, status or wealth takes great character and courage.
Jesus was the master at confrontation. Our Lord never relented from confrontation. As a matter of fact, he never acted out of any motive but love. Please read the gospel of John Chapter 3 and measure how Jesus lovingly confronts the sage and prominence of Nicodemus, but please notice the entire gospel of John is loaded with this Amazing Love outpouring.
Nicodemus was a very powerful man; a moral and upright Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council (John 3:1). Jesus was undaunted by his position.
He lovingly confronts Nicodemus with his need to be “born again” (John 3:3), to start anew, leave behind past hurts, habits and old ways.
The message of Jesus is about transformation, solutions, and healing. Nicodemus needs to be born again of water and the Spirit (v.5).
The outward washing must be accompanied by the inward washing and can be accomplished only by the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
In addition, Jesus says you cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can see the impact on people’s lives: The person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch, the Spirit, and becomes a living spirit (v.6, MSG).
Jesus lovingly challenges Nicodemus about his belief system which by the way is not an easy challenge. Using the image of the snake in the desert (from Numbers 21),
Jesus predicts that he himself will be lifted on the cross so ‘that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life’ (v.15). “Believes” means trusts.
Confront in trusting
Every time we enter a relationship we take a risk. All relationships require the prerequisite trust. Trust in a dynamic relationship grows and endures.
Jesus teaches and demonstrates for us about God’s love. The Greek word used for “Love” in verse 16, agape, appears forty-four times in John’s Gospel alone.
This verse sums up John’s Gospel and, indeed, the whole of the New Testament: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (v.16).
There is a God and his love is wide enough to embrace all humankind without distinction or exception. It is not a vague or sentimental love. God’s love is of immeasurable intensity, demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice his only begotten Son for you and me.
The world is in such a mess and many people often ask, ‘Why doesn’t God do something?’ The answer is that he has done something.
Our Lord came in the person of his Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and rise again for you and for me. Jesus understands about suffering, our Lord suffered for us and he suffers alongside us today and now.
Confrontation not condemnation
Many people have ceased to believe in life after death. But Jesus promised that we would have eternal life and literally live forever! (v.15, amp).
This life is not the end according to Jesus (John 14:6). There is hope beyond the grave, Jesus offers you and me eternal life. There is a big difference between confrontation and condemnation (Romans 8:1). Jesus confronted people, but he did not condemn them (John 8-1-11).
Jesus did not come to condemn you but to save you from condemnation (John 3:17–18). Like Jesus, you and I need to bring a message, not of condemnation, but the good news of restoration and salvation.
To save means to pull a person out of danger, to liberate, to open the doors of a prison, to heal, to make whole.
Many conflicts could be avoided if people would talk to each other, rather than just talk about each other. Be careful not to jump to quick adverse conclusions about other people and their choices. Do not attack them verbally behind their backs.
If necessary, arrange a meeting, confront and hear the explanation. If we all do this, much needless division and ill-feeling will be avoided. Learn the art of being progressive, instead of being skeptical or cynical, be positive and mature which by the way is awfully difficult.
When you make mistakes about people, be generous in admitting your mistakes. It takes a person of character to admit that they are wrong.
Point to ponder
Confrontation requires great character and maturity if deployed effectively using the tenets of the Lord. However, there are some situations that are better left alone.
It is your assignment to prayerfully and lovingly seek the Lord to know what and what not to confront in your life. I have provided you with some Leadership principles if you are ready to move forward in an effective confrontation!
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Special thanks to Mr. William Wilson, Ms. Annette Straker, Mr. David Straker, Mr. Kenneth Washington, Mrs. Shakeema Fraser-Lowe, Mrs. Cynthia Waiters-Artis, Ms. Monique Williams, Ms. Karleasa McCoy, and Ms. Gertrude Scott.
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Pastor James Baker, Jr.