I admit it. I don’t like confrontation. I often work with students and church leaders who face the same issue, even when they know ignoring the issue isn’t wise. Here are some steps that help me in those tough times.
- Make sure you’re walking with God. If you’re not being faithful in other areas of your life, I doubt you should expect God’s blessing in confrontation. Why should He guide you when you’re not listening to Him in other areas of your life?
- Check your heart. If your motive is revenge or harm or gloating, don’t take the next step until your heart is right.
- Pray before you start the conversation. The Holy Spirit is much better than we are at helping us and others realize our wrong. To confront without praying first simply isn’t very smart.
- Recognize that not confronting can open the door for the enemy. The more you delay confronting, the more anxious you’ll be – and the deeper someone else might go into sin.
- Do your homework. Get your facts straight before you confront. Bad information leads to unnecessary scars.
- Consider possible reactions, responses, and goals ahead of time. It’s almost always better to think through a response rather than react on the fly. Wise preparation can take you a long way down the right path.
- Clarify and state your goal: to redeem even if you must rebuke. Your goal should be to strengthen a brother or sister in Christ, not hurt him or her. Make sure this goal is clear up front.
- Ask questions more than make statements. Questions soften the blows, and they allow the person confronted to explain without being backed into a corner.
- Work toward a stated solution. Trust God to direct both of you toward a resolution that is pleasing to Him. Confront toward repentance and reconciliation, not away from it.
- Keep praying silently (and together if needed) during the conversation. Keep turning your attention to God more than to the reason for the confrontation.
- Assume you will pray together after the conversation. When you start the conversation knowing it will end with prayer, you’ll be more careful in what you say and how you say it.
If you struggle with confronting others, what other strategies have helped you?