Our culture is divided, God is not. Our culture demands that we get our pound of flesh when we are wronged; yet God gives us a counter-culture way to live.
The most famous instruction is the Golden Rule – written by author’s Luke and Matthew.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. ” — Matthew 7:12.
Ask yourself how you’d like to be confronted? Do you want people to deal gently with you? How do you feel when someone is overly harsh with you because they are angry? Remember these feelings when you are confronting or answering another.
Confrontation should never be used to belittle, condemn or take revenge on another person; that is wrong.
Why Must You Do This?
Before we go farther, know that your heart is desperately wicked and full of deceit. We justify everything and often see things through a veil.
When you think about the person who just confronted you or when you think about the person you are about to confront, stop for a moment and think about how you feel toward that person. When their name is tossed about in your head, what are you thinking? Is it possible that you’ve allowed a tiny seed of bitterness to grow? If you attempt to talk to someone with a justice-centric mindset you will fail.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” — Romans 12:19.
The Israelite’s had the same instructions (thousands of years ago) as found in Leviticus 19:18. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
Are You the Right Person?
We’re all human but we’re all different. Some people are very good at confronting others. They do it with gentleness and respect preserving the person’s dignity. Perhaps your personality doesn’t fit well with confrontation and you frequently find yourself causing offense. Consider giving this responsibility to another; for example a spouse or a friend.
There isn’t anything wrong with this. Moses asked God to have Aaron be the spokesperson for him when confronting Pharaoh. God permitted this.
A Burden Too Hard to Bear
Why do you suppose God asked us to leave vengeance to him? The answer is simple – you cannot bear the weight of it. As you ponder over-and-over the wrong done, thousands of questions arise. You’ll never be given adequate answers for the sin done in this world. Giving this matter over to God frees you from the danger of bitterness which will eventually consume and destroy you.
Confronting another is one of the most difficult things to do and most of us are not very good at it. We either avoid it altogether or we’re too blunt and we cause offense. Recently, in our small group I listened to a story from one particular individual where confrontation occurred. Rather than use a direct-on approach, the individual simply asked the other person questions. These questions allowed the person to really think about the situation rather than deal with being put in a defensive position. Consider using that approach the next time you need to talk to someone.
Remember how the prophet, Nathan, confronted David regarding his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband? Nathan told a story.
Let dig into some instructions given to us by God through the Bible.
When someone confronts you about your faith – it will likely be head-on rather than softened. Your response is critical and should be done with gentleness and respect:
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, — 1 Peter 3:15.
Paul wrote to the church at Colossae nearly two thousand years ago. He knew how dangerous the tongue can be and his words were, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” — Colossians 4:6.
Maintain the Person’s Dignity
In the end, most people don’t mind being confronted if their dignity is retained. Too often we confront because we are angry or we are simply attempting to impose “our way” onto other people. Each of us is given a personality and rarely is there one way to do something. Furthermore, our perceptions of a situation are frequently wrong because we can only see things from one viewpoint (our own). Proverbs 11:14 informs the reader that in the multiple of counsellors there is safety. Seek counsel. Seek multiple counsellors. Go outside of your comfort and seek the counsel of someone different from you. You are only fooling yourself if you are seeking counsel from someone who always agrees with you.
Luke 6:36 – be merciful even as your father in heaven is merciful.
- Read 1 Corinthians 13. You can do a lot of things, but if you don’t do them with love, they are useless.
- Spend more time building people up rather than tearing them down through fault-finding. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
- Encourage your neighbors (those around you). “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” — Romans 15:2.
- You are avoiding someone. Who is that person? Why are you avoiding them? Consider for a moment that you might be avoiding them as a form of justice. They did something to you therefore you will have no contact with them. Is this God-centric or human-response? “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each and for everyone else.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:15.