I sat in the kitchen that was warm in its decor but cold in its energy. It was just me and a friend. She started slowly with, “A few of us have been talking and thought for sure…..” I sat and listened as each word came as a dagger to my heart. Months before I had noticed a shift in attitudes towards me. I noticed a coldness from friends and had no idea why. I often wondered and prayed that the reason behind this cold attitude would surface someway, but God in His wisdom knew that my dependence on Him was more important than the answer I was seeking.
I remember looking at her with tears in my eyes as she finished up her monologue of confrontation and said, “Why didn’t anyone ask me?” She stopped, not expecting my answer with, “well, we just assumed.” That day many years ago cemented in my mind as a springboard to confront issues in the lives of those I love immediately. The damage done to my heart and those that had participated in the gossip about the issue begged a better way.
I’ve noticed a huge trend in confrontation. The trend? No one wants to do it. Let’s face it, it’s pretty much the hardest thing ever to look a friend in the face and tell her something she has done has bothered you. Most people would rather do anything else than confront a friend. I get it. It’s hard. No one wants their confrontation meeting to turn out like a scene from The Real Housewives. However, did you know that there is a definite biblical way to confront a friend? When I learned this, it was probably one of the most beneficial and practical things I had read. No one wants to live and “deal” with a friend constantly frustrating them! Living with that frustration is pointless because we have been given a way to have successful confrontation. If you live in close relationship with anyone you will have a need for confrontation because people are not perfect!
Women, this is especially for you. How often do you call a friend and complain about one of your other friends RATHER than calling the person that has caused you problems directly and talked to them about the problem. A Federal case ensues. Often times, gossip and frustration plague a life that doesn’t handle confrontation appropriately and swiftly. Here’s the good news, YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE FRUSTRATED!!!! Yay!
Matthew 18:15 says,
If you brother sins, go and show him his fault IN PRIVATE if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
This is the first step to any confrontation. Show your brother (friend) the fault. This is the hardest step, however, if your friend knows the problem they can fix it and move forward. If you don’t share the problem with your friend, they can’t fix anything. As hard as it may be for you the conversation will be well worth it! I have had many a conversation that have literally made me sick to my stomach. I have left many a conversation and cried on the way home or when I got off the phone because it was so hard, but having those conversations have made my relationships stronger and closer than they ever were before.
Proverbs 27:17 says,
Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
If we live in close relationship with anyone it is one of our jobs as a friend to help them if needed. When we do decide to sit and have a confrontational conversation there is one thing that we must do.
But speaking the truth IN LOVE.
It is imperative that we speak truth and we do it in love. We might get to the point of having coffee or a tough phone conversation and mean to say exactly what needs to be said and when we finally get the opportunity we chicken out. One thing I know, God will provide the grace needed to follow through. Then speak truth in a loving way. Most people don’t confront but when they do they don’t do it in a way that shows they care for the other person.
Proverbs 27:6 says,
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of the enemy.
There are times in all relationships that confrontation is the most loving thing you can do. If you don’t help your friends when they are going in a sinful direction or have sinned against you, are you really there friend?
Let me be clear, confrontation needs to happen in private and it needs to be a conversation. Facebook, twitter, or text messaging is not a way to confront. The party cannot read the love and compassion with which you will communicate when done in person.
I sat in that kitchen all those years ago and left that conversation with a closer friend. The air had been cleared. Truth had been spoken and although things weren’t handled properly I was better because of it. God will bless your efforts, sweet friend. I’m rooting for you!