We continue with our theme for September: Back To School. Even as adults who’ve long graduated from school, we still face tests and trials in the ‘school real life.’
Both of my boys are musicians and played in a few garage bands when they were teens. I remember one day asking my oldest son, “Are you having band practice today?”
“No,” he answered flatly. “I’m not sure if I want to play with them anymore.”
He went on to explain his reasons. I listened carefully realizing there had been many disagreements that had never been voiced. When the boys didn’t agree about things, rather than talking about it, they held back their feelings. In actuality, resentment was building. It had come to the place where it seemed easier to quit.
Have you been there? Are you there now?
I certainly understand. In all honesty, I was there just this morning. Although I have been married for twenty-five years, sometimes it seems easier to avoid conflict rather than deal with it. I found myself in a situation with my husband where I chose to confront rather than avoid. Why? We had both been avoiding some issues lately and the sweet Holy Spirit called me out on it.
The result was a messy, difficult discussion that went on for several hours. I know, I know—that doesn’t sound fun. Nope, it wasn’t. However, we were able to talk about some much needed issues. The discussion ended in prayer and tears of joy.
Confrontation is risky, scary, and just downright hard.
As I explained to my son, running away from difficult situations doesn’t make them go away. In fact running actually causes us to stay stuck.
As long as we live on this earth, we are going to face difficult people and difficult situations. If we hide or run from them, we miss the lessons and tests from God.
One thing we can count on: Our God is faithful to give us another crack at the tests we either failed or ran away from.
WE NEED TO STOP RUNNING
Moses tried it.
Hagar tried it.
Jonah tried it.
Running away didn’t work out for them and it doesn’t work for us either.
God had a destiny in mind for Moses. Moses made a terrible mistake and rather than face Pharaoh, he ran to the desert of Midian just outside of Egypt (Exodus 2:15). He spent the next forty years hiding. It wasn’t until he was eighty that God called him to lead the Israelites.
Hagar was a servant girl in a difficult situation between her master Abraham and his wife, Sarah. When she became pregnant by Abraham, which was Sarah’s idea, this caused a huge rift between her and Sarah. So Hagar ran away. There the angel of God told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her control” (Genesis 16:9). Yikes! This must have been extremely difficult, yet Hagar obeyed the Lord.
Jonah ran away because he didn’t agree with God’s plan of giving the sinful people of Nineveh a chance to repent. He ended up in the belly of a whale. There he confessed his disobedience and God caused the whale to vomit Jonah out onto dry land.
WE MUST FIND OUR STRENGTH IN GOD
We need to be a people who no longer run from difficult situations. God calls us to be bold and courageous because His Spirit is living in us, and is greater than any situation we may face.
“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NLT
WHEN WE CONFRONT
- Before confronting, we must pray and ask God to examine our hearts and motives.
- Follow the pattern in Matthew 18:15-17 (below). First go to the one with whom the problem is. Secondly, if needed get help from another godly person or two. Finally, it may be necessary to bring it to the attention of authorities (Pastor, work supervisor, whatever is applicable to the situation).
Matthew 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”
- Speak With Love And Respect
Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Colossians 4:6 “ Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
- The ultimate goal is restoration and peace if possible
We can see from the scriptures above, the Lord is clearly calling us to something much more loving and redemptive than going toe to toe and confronting others with a list of wrongs. Our goal should be peaceful restoration.
Takeaway and Application:
Avoiding difficult people and issues doesn’t make them go away. In fact, it actually causes us to stay stuck.
Examine your heart before God. Ask for wisdom about any issues or people He may want you to confront.
Prayer: Gracious heavenly Father, I want to handle difficult people and situations Your way, not my own. First show me what I need to work on within myself. Change my heart and attitude to be like Yours. Show me when and if I am to confront any matters that you reveal to me.
If you call me to confront a situation, cover me with your grace causing me to speak with gentleness and love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
My prayer is that this post was a helpful tool. I’d love to hear your comments or suggestions below.
On a personal note, I always smile and giggle inside (with joy) after reading one of you posts. They are always so poignant, so well written and reach down into the soul to penetrate and prick our weakness; almost to render our built up resistance defenseless. I wish I could have used this in the chapter on communication in my book. God’s richest blessings to you as you continue to challenge each of us.
I appreciate your affirmation, Ron. What an honor to hear you would have used this in your book!
I really liked your message today.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. It’s my pray to draw readers closer to God.
I love your theme this month of ‘back to school’ for adults! Learning how to ‘do’ life rightly is a lifelong venture. I appreciate your wisdom with confrontation and courageously facing our troubles. Thanks – I enjoyed connecting with you today through RaRaLinkUP.
Thanks for commenting. I’m glad we connected too. Looking forward to reading more from you. God bless!
What a fabulous post. Wise words. It’s so much easier to avoid until we get to the place where we’re more likely to then turn and attack than gently resolve. Thanks for sharing!!
Jean, I’m glad the post ministered to you. The Lord teaches me as He guides the writing. I’m sure you’ve found this to be true as well. Blessings on you, your family and your writing!
I carried the label ‘nice’ ever since I was a kid. I avoided arguments, disagreements or confrontations. Unfortunately, the nice guy tag costs my health. Some bosses take advantage of that and abuse me. I keep quite, I am a nice guy. Thank you for this word. It reminded me being a Christian doesn’t mean I should avoid confrontation, but take it as an opportunity to build deep healthy relationships.
I’m so pleased God used this word to encourage you in building healthy relationships. Thanks for taking the time to share. May God continue to bless you as you grow in Him.