Dear Mel Vol16

Mel, I would like to know why it is that Christian’s fear confrontation. We are told in the Bible to be truthful. Yet, what I see, hear and experience myself, consistently, is that Christians will smooth over everything in order to keep things quiet and easy.
To me, this shelves airing out your grievances, builds frustration, blocks communication; in short it does not develop a healthy community or individual. It does not assist in our truly loving our brothers and sisters; it definitely does not show to others outside the Christian community how we will be known by our love.
My recently adopted attitude and behavior, is now, in order to fit in, that I say nothing to anyone; hold the truth inside myself….because no one wants to hear it.
Hence, we have no open and honest communication where we can air our differences, or speak our mind without being judged or condemned…and..the most important point…we therefore cannot love as Jesus calls us to.
Why oh why can we not be honest and open?

Dear Open and Honest:
Oh if only I had the answer! I see the same things. I wonder if some of it isn’t taught by society. It’s not okay to say anything that could possibly upset anyone anymore. It is hard to confront with truth because it is such a delicate area. If you are too confrontational it puts the other person on defense and they are very unlikely to hear anything you have to say. Are we afraid of making someone feel uncomfortable or angry? I think so. I don’t know where the line should be drawn. Who decides what should be addressed and what should not? And there are always those people who will take that sense of power to an unhealthy level because they feel they have the right to tell anyone and everyone how they should live, what they should wear, and how to behave etc. That’s dangerous territory. If it can be done with a pure and loving heart then we’d confront like Jesus. We have to be prepared for the consequences that may follow. I’ve had to do it in a leadership position and it is really hard and the person on the receiving end isn’t always willing or ready to listen.

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  1. The Bible says that we should speak the truth in love, Eph 4:15, so many just think that means we have free license to go to ANYONE and say ANYTHING…in love, of course. The truth of the matter is this though, in order to speak a word of rebuke to someone and have it received in a manner of love there should be a relationship there first. You can’t just walk up to an acquaintance and begin telling them their flaws, no matter how truthful it is without the relationship it will likely not be well received. There are exceptions to everything but this is often the case.

    That’s why Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Rebuke from a friend shows them faithful.

    There’s a huge misunderstanding in our society that being kind means never speaking a hard thing. I went to a Beth Moore conference in 2009 and she did a word study on the word Kindness. It means not being afraid to speak a hard word, among other things.

    I would rather have true friends who love me enough to be kind and point out my blind spots to me because they are just that…bind spots. I don’t see them. Someone who would let me walk around all day with spinach in my front teeth isn’t much of a friend…and when you look at it that way it’s really nothing to be afraid of.

  2. A better question is, “What is God speaking to my heart in this situation?” We cannot change the behavior of others; we can only change our attitude. It is the job of the Holy Spirit, not us, to convict of sin. God may use you to confront someone, but many times this is not the case. It is better to concentrate on what you are to do here and now, and then pray for the rest of the Christian community.

  3. Very good responses.

    I read this question this morning and have been thinking about it. I’m not sure why the word “Christian” needs to be used. All people are like this, regardless of religion, race, or creed. Nobody truly likes confrontation. Even the people I’ve met who claim they do, ONLY like it when THEY are the ones doing the confronting.

    In most cases, confrontation is not even necessary. We usually get worked up over little things like speech and mannerisms, differences that are due usually to upbringing in a different culture than we are used to.

    But it is disconcerting that this is often carried over to important things like, since this blog deals with it, abuse. When those who are abused, or who have been abused, decide to “go public” about it, they are often met with coolness & even indignation. There is more sympathy for the abuser than the abused.

    Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. These injustices are things we must learn to “live with” when we have absolutely no choice. As was already said, we can only change ourselves, we cannot change others. However, we do have prayer. We can pray for change in others, work on changing society, but ultimately we have to accept that there are things that some people just cannot deal with. It is more the pity for them than for us, though.



    • Very well said, Sara! I agree, it’s definitely not just Christians. It’s humankind as a whole.

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