Some people avoid confrontation at all costs. They are sometimes referred to as doormats. Others thrive on it. We’ll call them, well, bullies.
Either extreme is not good. There is a phrase I love that goes like this, “One hundred and eighty degrees of dysfunction is still dysfunction.”
So the healthy place to land is in the middle of the two extremes.
But these kinds of conversations can be uncomfortable. People are sensitive and have egos and all that. As Jesus followers, people are the most important element in everything that we do.
That is why confrontation is essential. Side stepping necessary truths will not help anyone. Most of us are on a track to grow and improve and need good feedback to keep heading in that direction. Even professional athletes employ coaches.
Another thing I once heard was that of comparing confrontation to a boxing ring. One glove is truth and the other is love. We should always swing with love first.
So how important is the issue? Am I the best one to have the conversation? How do I go about it with the most love and grace possible? Will the concern go away on its own? Maybe wait and see if this is occasional or habitual?
These are hard questions. Maybe I should take it down a notch.
How about this scene? You go to lunch with your friend, and after the meal she has a giant piece of spinach stuck in her teeth. It’s awkward to say, but gosh! How terrible for her if you just let her walk around like that for the rest of the day? What kind of friend does that?
Not the kind of friend I want.
I want a friend who will say to me – hey – you’ve got a giant piece of spinach right about there. And they point to their own mouth as a mirror for me to find that green remnant and get it outta sight.
The things that make us nervous about those hard conversations is that they are not as surface as spinach-in-the-teeth, or fixed as easily. But do you really care about the person? Which approach demonstrates kindness and love? Let it go or bring it up? Is your attitude one of humility or arrogance? Can you say it in a way that their response will be, “Hey, thanks for telling me, I had no idea.”
And take advantage of the free toothpicks on your way out after lunch. You know, just in case.
Thanks for reading, until tomorrow!