Dare to Confront
At Teen Challenge, we work a lot on communication. Communication is many facetted and can be complicated to say the least. One of the hardest aspects of communication is “confrontation”. Having to confront brings up a myriad of emotions, especially fear: fear of rejection; fear of loss; even fear that we are the ones in the wrong. The following is a very painful lesson I personally learned the hard way:
When I first got saved God gave me the most wonderful friend. He knew I needed someone that would answer a lot of my sincere, but weird questions. I knew little about Christianity and had all kinds of questions. Let me give you an example: I had been reading in Genesis and something about Adam really caused me to ponder… I asked my pastor, “Pastor, did Adam have a belly button?” Think about it! I don’t know why but I sincerely wanted to know. I guess I will have to wait until Heaven to be able to ask him – my pastor just looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and gave no comment. Back to my friend… She didn’t care that I was a bit unconventional; that I didn’t quite “dress” churchy; or that my background was very unsavory. She accepted me right where I was at; and trust me, that is just what I needed.
My friend and I were pretty much inseparable. We’d talk on the phone daily; go to church together; and even go on trips together. Then one day, I went to her house and she came to the door and said, “Leave, and don’t come back.” She literally slammed the door in my face with no explanation. I was crushed. There had been no argument, I hadn’t done anything that I knew of, and was totally blown away by her unexpected behavior. I asked her family if they knew what I had done: “Ask her” was the response. I talked to my pastor. He didn’t have any answers either. Our friendship ended for years. It wasn’t until years later that I found out why she had acted that way. A member of her family, due to being jealous of our friendship, told a lie. She said I had said certain negative things about my friend and because of “who” she was, my friend believed her. I hadn’t even had a conversation with this woman. (Fast forward: When I found out about this, though it was years later, I prayerfully confronted this individual, and she apologized for what she did. Forgiveness reigns, but a lot of damage had been done.)
The negative things that she said I said were enough to hurt anyone. I can understand why my friend was so upset. BUT…. She did NOT apply Christian principles of confrontation. Scripturally, she should have come to me, and not just taken the word of someone else – no matter who that person was! Though we are back in each other’s lives, we missed out on years of fellowship. And though this was resolved a number of years ago, the lessons from this situation are still very real to me:
- NEVER just walk away from a relationship without giving the other person opportunity to express themselves. We all see things from different perspectives and often, a simple explanation can resolve a very big conflict. And even if there has been a serious “wrong”, using scriptural principals, there is NOTHING that cannot be healed if we are willing.
- NEVER walk in un-forgiveness! I don’t care what a person has done or not done: FORGIVE! The Word is quite clear. We are to forgive as Christ has forgiven us!
- NEVER get into the bondage of “I called him last. It’s his turn.” “He needs to be the one to call me, after all!” Tit for tat in any relationship is unhealthy.
- ALWAYS keep good boundaries. Using these principles does not mean that we are to allow people to step all over our boundaries. We may have to let a person go his way, but we are still to forgive and handle the situation Gods way – not man’s.
- ALWAYS allow “love” (I Cor. 13) to be our guide.
- ALWAYS, when in doubt seek godly counsel concerning the situation.
Right now you may be asking “why” go to so much trouble? We need to go to so much trouble because the only things worth anything in this life are relationships! Everything else will rust and fade away. Our relationship with God is to always be first. Out of that, using His recipe for healthy relationships, we will have lifelong relationships that will truly be a blessing to us and others. Right now, as I write this, I am asking myself: “Is there anyone who I have not properly confronted in order to try and restore relationship (restoration should always be the goal)? Is there anyone I have not forgiven? Is my pride causing me to keep a tally of wrongs? Am I practicing what I preach?”