Have you ever experienced confrontation? Have you ever been the person needing to confront?
Either way you probably know that confrontation is not easy. Too often our agendas, emotions, and frustrations can come into the situation and take things to the wrong place. We may have a legitimate reason to confront such as a friend broke an item they borrowed, a spouse did not follow through on something, a child was disrespectful, or someone we know is in sin. The heart and goal of confrontation needs to be about love, being an ambassador for Christ, and should be done in the context of relationship, not just because we are an authority in their life, or they are an authority in our life.
Paul David Tripp wrote a great chapter on confrontation in War of Words. In it he defines several things to keep in mind regarding the agenda for having a conversation with someone that is confrontational.
- Confrontation often confuses personal irritation and anger with biblical perspectives and purposes
- Poor data gathering can lead to incorrect assumptions about the facts, which derails confrontation
- Confrontation is often marred by a judgment of motives
- Inflammatory language, condemning words, and emotional tones often stain confrontation
- Confrontations are often adversarial rather than moments of loving concern for the person who needs your rebuke
- In confrontation, Scripture is often used more as a club than as a mirror of self-awareness and a guide to change
- Confrontation often confuses human expectations with God’s will
- Confrontation often takes place in the context of a broken relationship
- Confrontation often demands that change be an immediate event rather than a process
He continues on and gives a Biblical model for how a confrontational conversation could be handled by using an acronym for ENCOURAGE
E = Examine your heart
N = Note your calling
C = Check your attitude
O = Own your own faults
U = Use words wisely
R = Reflect on Scripture
A = Always be prepared to listen
G = Grant time for a response
E = Encourage the person with the gospel
Next time you have to be a part of a difficult conversation where you are giving or receiving confrontation in some way think of this acronym and see if you can make some adjustments that might make the conversation go a little more smoothly