I hate conflict. I would prefer to avoid confrontation. I have in the past. The only problem is I am now realizing that my avoiding of conflict and confrontation has only enabled minor problems to grow into big hairy dangerous problems that then demand a whole lot more confrontation in order to fix.
So I am learning to change my behavior. The earlier I confront, the lower the conflict and the more likely we have a positive outcome. That means that conflict is the PATHWAY to peace. Conflict is NECESSARY to preserve peace.
I am also learning that confrontation, if done well, will BUILD relationship and BUILD trust.
When someone confronts me about something that I am doing that is negatively impacting my environment I am GRATEFUL! If Im doing something stupid and those close to me don’t confront me, then trust is actually eroded.
So confrontation is NECESSARY to build trust.
Confrontation is unavoidable. It simply becomes HOW I confront that makes the difference.
So HOW should I confront someone who is negatively affecting themselves or the environment? Here’s five keys that have helped me:
1. Get your facts clear
Separate the facts from your feelings; what actually happened from how it made you feel. Emotions are always triggered when you experience a disagreement or offense and easily cloud our judgment. Go back through what happened and ask yourself “What are the facts?” and “Is that true, or my version of the truth?”
2. Get humble
Appeal to the person rather than just pointing out error. It is very rare that people intentionally want to perpetrate evil on those around them. More commonly it is ignorance or poor communication or low situational awareness. They NEED you to let them know how they are affecting others. Approaching them with a spirit of humility rather than arrogance or pride or “I’m right” will greatly help you.
3. Get bold and free of intimidation
Be concise and direct and not wishy washy or afraid of ‘death.’ Where have you partnered with fear and intimidation that you need to repent of before moving forward with this confrontation? How may have this behavior on your part enabled the situation? Own your part then move forward without shame or hesitation.
4. Get clear on intended outcome
What do you want as a result of this confrontation? What could that look like? The clearer you are on what you need as an outcome, the clearer you can move into the confrontation. Again, check your assumptions: Is this outcome realistic? Is it do-able? How could this intended outcome be interpreted by the other person(s) involved?
5. Get prayed up
There are always two sides to a situation, one seems right until the other is heard. Jesus is the only source of all truth and wisdom and He gives you insight, questions to ask, courage to ask it and comfort when/if it goes bad. Be strong and courageous!