[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]N[/mk_dropcaps]ow is the time for confronting confrontation. If you are someone who avoids conflict at all costs get ready, chances are this post will act like sandpaper for you, but stay with me it as we smooth off our rough edges together. The benefits of confrontation in all our relationships are worth a few moments of awkwardness. If you are going to do healthy confrontation you have to get comfortable with the awkward. Why do we need positive confrontation?
Like anything healthy it must be tended to in order to grow. That means pruning when necessary which can be in the form of addressing issues before they get so bad the very life of the relationship comes into jeopardy.
Despite what you may believe confrontation is a positive thing. It is only the delivery that can be harsh or bad. Confrontation in itself, however hard you try, will be awkward. Don’t sweat it, this awkwardness is only short lived and is for a purpose. The purpose is to keep what is healthy, healthy, nourished and growing. To leverage the full potency of partnership we must be willing to take the bad along with the good. If confrontation is what it takes to keep the unhealthy from growing it is worth whatever the cost is. The thing is we often gloss over the fact that confrontation is the cost of healthy relationships. If you do not see it modeled well your desire will be to avoid paying the price. It is time we are aware of the cost of healthy and thriving relationships: it is confrontation. The bible states it like this:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— Luke 14:28[/mk_blockquote]
The tower here can be a reference for relationship. Building something great requires you know the cost. Count what confrontation means, assume your responsibility to do it if the situation requires and see your life flourish.
We do this so willingly with the cost of what is tangible, but when it comes to relationships somehow our expectations change. We assume things are just supposed to flow and take care of themselves without labor. But that would be in violation of God’s principle of sowing and reaping.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7[/mk_blockquote]
This is not just a financial giving scripture like you may often hear it preached, it applies to anything. Sow love into relationships, and you shall reap love. Sow generosity of time, and reap generosity of time. We must sow (which is manual labor) into our relationships in order to reap a harvest of any kind. It is central to healthy living to tend and keep our relationships. Part of sowing into relationships is being willing to go first. What makes this hard is doing so without a promise of return. That is faith. When you sow seed you do it with expectation and understanding that the life of that seed must undergo a process that takes time to grow a tree which produces fruit. Relationships are much the same. In the growing process when adjustments are made early on they are small, but if left unattended the cost only increases over time.
Step out and be bold to draw to light those areas of compromise so they do not fester and rot in the dank of darkness. When we face conflict head on with love, truth and grace, both parties grow. It is not an easy process but it is vital to health.
What are some practical and healthy ways to confront?
1) Consider Timing and Basic Needs-
Think practically about when and where to bring up a sensitive or confrontational issue. Bringing up a sensitive topic when someone is stressed and hungry is just asking for an amplified response. "Hanger" is not just a fun play on words, but a real thing. Physical discomfort (including low blood sugar) puts someone at a predisposition to be more on edge. In a best case scenario sit down over food, in an environment that is low on distraction and calming, as best as you can control it to create a relaxed environment to confront the issue. Yes, some issues to require a prompt response, but most of the time for deeper matters of the heart the best way to go deep is to be in an easy going atmosphere.
2) Correction Sandwich- The best way to begin a conversation that has correction is to sandwich it with positivity. It best looks like this:
Living in a culture that is largely negative it is hard to receive correction and not beat ourselves down if hope is not built in alongside it. Think of the strengths you highlight as the sugar coating to help the confrontation go down smoother and aid in its digestion. However, these good things must be genuine and sincere to really do their job properly.
3) Keep your demeanor and tone soft- Nothing escalates conflict more than a shift in tone and demeanor. Proverbs 15:1 states it like this
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.[/mk_blockquote]
Even if your emotions run hot keep your response cool. The wrath will diminish much quicker if you can master your emotions. Both you and the one you are confronting will become more apt to get to the root of the issue if emotions don’t mix in to cloud thinking.
Yes these are not easy, but they are simple. They are the price we pay for strong healthy relationships. But as we have seen already this month partnerships and strong relationships are worth it. We are made for them and thrive best in them. Be strong and courageous, pay the price as frequently as you need to.