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Confrontation is a Gift

Lois Flewelling

For many of us the word confrontation produces an array of emotions, high levels of anxiety, tension, uncomfortableness, and overall fear of engaging in any type of conflict. Confrontation may be one of the scariest words spoken!  I have always been a person who ‘went with flow’. I thought it was a great way to be but then I discovered the damage that was taking place on the inside. I very seldom spoke up, voiced an opinion, or confronted in anyway.  I just sucked my breath in and took whatever was being said around me. On the flip side, someone close to me was just the opposite - boisterous, aggressive, and always confronting. Neither approach worked! One lost on the inside while the other lost on the outer.   

Confrontation is a gift and when used properly can result in respect, creating strong relationships, healthy conversation, and mutual understanding. When we look at it as conflict, it becomes scary and painful.  But if we consider confrontation as a form of resolution, it becomes a powerful resource that empowers us.

Those who fear confrontation allow their emotions to overpower their ability to communicate comfortably or effectively. It results in our isolation, lack of confidence, and ultimately lack of any power. When we learn how to confront, we also learn how to implement self-control, honesty, and ways to self-protect. Confrontation is a way to gain back your power - power over who you are, power over your feelings, power of your choices, and respect.  When our motives are pure, God will break through with his anointing for transformation, healing, restoration, and life.

Let’s examine ways to take the gift of confrontation to a new level.

  1. Avoidance should not be considered an option. Rather it results in deeper hurt, isolation, and broken relationships. 2 Samuel 13 is an example of not confronting. In this story, David did not confront Amnon when he raped his half- sister and later he did not confront Absalom for killing Amnon. The result was devastation for all three of the children involved. Not only did their family relationship become broken but death occurred due to hatred that grew. The goal of confrontation is to resolve relationship in a hurting situation. Matthew 18:15-17 “If your fellow believer sins against you, you must go to that one privately and attempt to resolve the matter. If he responds your relationship is restored…”

  2. Risk is involved. Every situation is unique and has a level of risk. Consider Nathan, a prophet, who confronted David, the king. The Lord comes to Nathan in the middle of the night and tells him to go to David to inform him that he will not be building God’s temple rather his son will build it. David was in the process of getting supplies he needed to build the temple. David accepted the word of the Lord through Nathan. Yet later in chapter 12, Nathan confronts David again. This time it involved David desiring Bathsheba and having her husband killed. The consequences for his actions resulted in the loss of their child between them. Again, David repented and received forgiveness for his actions. It was risky for Nathan as it will for us but when God is in it, the results will be positive.

  3. Go as the Lord leads. I recall trying to get home in a blizzard and the Lord told me to go to an individual’s house and confront an issue that had taken place. I argued with the Lord giving every excuse I could come up with, but nothing seemed to work. In fact, the need to go pressed in even stronger. Despite all my rational thinking, it was the perfect timing that resulted in resolving a very delicate situation. It is important to not just listen to the leading of the Lord but do what the Lord tells you when he tells you. Remember he is working on everyone involved and knows the end before we do.

  4. Check your motive and make sure they line up biblically. The goal is to resolve the issue not state your defense. It is not a time to prove your perspective or hold the line on how right or justified you are for your actions. Our motive is to pursue reconciliation, forgiveness, love, and healing for all involved. In I Kings 17:18, a widow confronted Elijah after her son passed away. “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?” Very strong words against a man of God who had provided for her during a famine. Because she confronted Elijah, her son was brought back to life and her belief soared to new levels. Her motives were pure. Her words cut Elijah’s heart which jolted him into action.

  5. Listen for the rest of the story. Elijah did not only hear the          widows words, he knew more of the story. This is why he did not respond to her hurtful words but the emotional hurt she was experiencing. We must be willing to listen so we hear what the other person is saying. Too often in confrontation, we are not listening but preparing for our next words. Acts 11 provides an example of this. Peter had a vision as well as Cornelius. They both felt led of the Lord for Peter to go to Cornelius house and have Peter tell them a message from the Lord. This was not acceptable. Both Peter and Cornelius knew it was unacceptable for a Jew to enter the house of a Gentile. When the other apostles and believers heard what Peter had done, they confronted him, criticized his actions, and were even appalled that he not just entered his home but ate with them. Peter told them the rest of the story and after listening, they stopped objecting and began praising God. An entirely different mindset evolved and the word of God spread.

  6. Face your giants. Some of our situations may appear bigger than they are. To most of the Israel army looked upon the Philistine giants through their appearance and possibly through their reputation. When David came upon the scene, his perception came through the lens of who was on his side - the Lord of Heaven’s armies. He did not fight with a sword, spear, or javelin as the giants but rather from a position of victory. The battle of confrontation is won with the Lord on your side. He becomes your strength and provides the right weapon. Don’t underestimate what the Lord can do!

  7. Your results may not be what you expect. You cannot force anyone else to change. The only person you can change is yourself. We can have great expectation when we confront, but the individual has his own will and may defy your attempts. Sometimes our choices to manage our own buttons assist in causing change in another person. Even with the best intentions, our efforts can fail. The Lord told me to confront seven people within a short period of time. The results surprised me, and the Lord reveals insights into confrontation. For some, it resulted in respectful conversation acknowledging error on both sides. For others, it was one-sided with my seeking forgiveness for my actions and they’re not recognizing any action on their behalf. I was released while they held onto their pride. One became very defensive, shut down the conversation, and remains full of bitterness. No resolution occurred. It was not because I did not try but rather due to their choice. Instead, their fear or pride kept them in bondage.

  8. Be wise! Nehemiah is a great example of being wise when confronted.  In chapter four, Sanballat was very angry when he learned they were building the wall. He flew into a rage, mocked the Jews, and made fun of their attempts. Nehemiah prayed but again Sanballat and his cohorts made plans to fight against them and throw them into confusion. Nehemiah remained strong and made his own plan to protect the workers. His plan included being on guard, always carrying their weapons, and remaining alert. Depending on the situation we are in, this plan may be necessary. The most powerful weapon he had was prayer, trust in God for protection, and remaining covered under the wings of the Almighty. He directs our paths when we are in life and death situations. As Nehemiah did, join forces to help her stay protected and find a way through these types of situations.

  9. Implement divine discernment. Nehemiah also teaches us about how discernment is a must. In chapter six, the opposition rose against his efforts to build the wall. This time they used another method for harm. After four times trying to get Nehemiah to come to them, they reverted to another ploy. Nehemiah discerned their attempts to set him up and kill him. They returned a fifth time with a ‘rumor’ that Nehemiah’s people were going to rebel and again get him to come to them. He saw through these attempts and knew there was no truth in what they were saying. Each time they changed tactics; Nehemiah was given discernment around their true motives. They were trying to intimidate him, make him sin so they could accuse him and discredit him. From these attempts, Nehemiah became embolden and more determined to complete the wall. Ask for God’s gift of discernment so that you can see through all attempts to destroy you. Discernment also provides insights into how to both manage a situation or be removed from a situation.

  10. Allow God to be the restorer. When we displace our own fears and allow God to move through us, confrontation is productive. Most situations are out of our ability to restore. But when we allow God to be the restorer, all things are possible. And often it never looks like we think it will. Consider Joseph whose own brothers were so jealous of him that they threw him into a pit, sold and taken away. Joseph went through various levels of trauma, accused, left in jail, and eventually positioned by God in high honor which saved his family. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph tells his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” When God is the restorer, it ultimately is for the good of many people. In this case, it was for several nations. I am sure Joseph did not appreciate going through all that he did, but he choose forgiveness and restoration every time.

Every time I have had to confront, I have learned about myself and what I can do. Confrontation gives us the opportunity to set boundaries, become stronger inside, and walk out in greater faith.