I have no idea what to blog about, so I figured I would just start typing and see what happened.
Any of you old enough will remember Seinfeld, a show about nothing. I think it did so well because the characters said and did things people thought but wouldn’t dare say. Obviously, the characters aren’t good examples for Christians.
But what would happen if we were a little more honest with each other? If we weren’t so concerned with being accepted that we actually told people how we felt, especially if they have hurt us or are doing something that isn’t good for them or something that is completely wrong or even sinful?
I know it can be a little scary sometimes. Or at least it can make us nervous, especially if it is a sensitive issue or you’re not sure how the person will react. But if our motive is love or caring for the person then we should discuss it regardless of how intimidated we are.
We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – Romans 15:1b-2
I almost didn’t use this verse because at first glance it seemed like I was using it completely out of context. The original context talks about not doing things that aren’t necessarily sinful in order to keep other believers from stumbling.
If we should help each other do what is right when it comes to things that aren’t sinful in and of themselves then shouldn’t we do the same with larger issues like actual sin. Also, if we keep our mouth shut aren’t we pleasing ourselves at their expense. Sometimes we don’t say anything because it’s easier, but the other person doing wrong doesn’t get the opportunity to change and grow.
The apostle Paul surely wasn’t shy about confronting others when they were doing wrong.
But when Peter came to Antioch, I [Paul] had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? – Galatians 2:11-14
Under normal circumstances, the Bible says that confrontation should be in private, one on one, before confronting publicly.
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. – Matthew 18:15
Imagine the scene. Everybody is sitting around talking, laughing and having a great time. Then the big wigs come in and the crowd gathered parts like the Red Sea. The gentiles are probably thinking “what the hell”. Paul sees all this and is appalled and knows he has to say something. But he had to say it to a whole room of people guilty of the same thing. I don’t know how long this was after he gained the trust of the Christians but I can imagine some still didn’t completely trust or like him. He did what had to be done, though. He did the right thing.
I am trying to think of an example where I had to confront someone in this way. Nothing regarding sinful behavior comes to mind but I think more times than not we don’t find ourselves in this situation.
I can tell you I use to have trouble standing up for myself, still working on it sometimes. I use to bottle everything up until I exploded.
I especially had trouble confronting my nurses. And I’m talking over small things. For example, telling them I want them to do something differently. I would get all nervous when there was no reason to be nervous. Other times they would be doing something that is driving me nuts and I wouldn’t say anything until I got to my boiling point. The explosion would never be pretty.
How did I get over this? I started saying what I wanted. It was hard for me at first but the more I did it the less anxiety I would feel each time. Now I don’t feel any anxiety over it, usually. I am not perfect about it and sometimes fall back into old behavior, but I’m human.
The only way to get over fear of confrontation is to have confrontation. It will be difficult at first but it will get easier.