3 Unhelpful Responses to Confrontation

tin-can-phoneConfrontation can create many unpleasant feelings and situations: awkwardness, irritation, and hurt. However, it can achieve much more if handled correctly—improved communication, understanding, solution to a problem, respect, and trustworthiness. The key is to do your part when faced with confrontation.

Here are three things to avoid when confrontation occurs:

  1. Interruption: If someone has worked up the courage to speak to you about a problem, give them the respect to finish what needs to be said. Interruption will only create more tension and frustration. Wait for your moment to speak—that way, both sides of the story will be clearly addressed.
  2. Anger: It’s tempting to get angry, to feel offended, and to become defensive, especially if the person confronting you has an angry tone. You want to match it. More than that—you want to raise the stakes. Don’t do it. Stay calm and keep focused on the issue at hand. Most often, the biggest obstacle in confrontation is learning not to take the matter personally. By remaining levelheaded, you will find resolution much more quickly and easily. Using anger as a tool in confrontation can unravel a relationship—but when handled maturely, it can result an improved relationship with better trust and new levels communication.
  3. Blame: You haven’t interrupted, and you’ve kept your temper in check. But are you aching for the moment you can finally say “But this isn’t my fault! [Insert excuse] is the real reason it happened!”? While you may not have been 100 percent involved in the issue at hand, were you 20 percent involved? 10 percent? Own up to your words or actions relevant to the situation, and leave it at that. The person confronting you will have a better picture of the whole situation if you’re honest and transparent. They will also appreciate your honesty and willingness to take the brunt for an action that may not have been entirely your fault.

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Comments

  1. Brenda Goels says

    I'm a little disappointed in this blog. While there is nothing wrong with what has been said per se, it sounds like any other worldly view on the topic of confrontation. As the Faithlife blog, I think the points made could have and should have been backed up with Scripture. There are numerous verses that would apply here. This should have been presented as a way to honor God, which should be our purpose in all that we do.

  2. says

    This is a broad topic, and done very well I might add.
    It may not be as in detail as you may like.
    Yet this was done for everyday situations.
    For everyday people to understand.
    I feel that it helped remind me of how things should be handled.
    I also identified with how things should not be handled.
    This is something you can take to your Non Christian Friends and this might help them to open up.
    Maybe by reading this, they may see how well something like this may work in their life.
    Then thirst for more knowledge, ultimately bringing them to Jesus.

  3. says

    If I could put my two cents worth in here, may I say just a few words? This is a very necessary topic, and the initial post is so very well worded and the issue so very well treated. I pray the Lord to help me remember these three suggestions and principles to follow. Confrontation is inevitable. Sooner or later, especially in the Lord's work, it is going to happen. I don't like it, I avoid it like the plague, I steer around it, I defer it, I hide from it and even find myself subconsciously shielding myself from it. However, I know that these personal feelings toward this issue are primarily of the flesh and not of the Spirit of God. There is some godly merit to not "liking or pursuing" confrontation. In my humble opinion, anyone who seeks for, searches for or lives for confrontation could not be living out the fruit of the Spirit. However, that being said, we must face the fact that sometimes, confrontation is the only means of correcting a problem, saving a life from sin or saving a church from destruction. When this is the case, God help us to face this issue with godly courage an in the Spirit of Christ. One more thing, all Christians are not gifted to handle these prickly situations as well as others. Often times in churches this unpleasant task is delegated to the pastor by default, after all, he is expendable! It is assumed by some if not most Christians that the pastor receives at ordination or through his religious training some source of mystical ability to always be the confronting party. That simply is not true. Some people are naturally or spiritually gifted to be better at this than others. Sometimes the pastor is the last person in the church who should be the one to confront, depending on the nature of the problem. Naturally, if the issue is spiritual, it is the pastor's place and duty to confront the person regarding open sin or sinful, wrongful and unchristian attitudes. However, regardless who does the confronting, these three principles discussed in this topic should always be the order of the event. God help me and all other Christians to remember to follow these principles, both when being confronted and when being the one charged with the duty of confronting. William Penn made a wonderful comment that has been my rule for many years, "In all Debates, let Truth be thy Aim, not Victory, or an unjust Interest: And endeavor to gain, rather than to expose thy Antagonist". I suppose confrontation could be considered debate, for it often times ensues as such. However, let Penn's message be the ruling order, especially his words, "endeavor to gain, rather than to expose thy antagonist. I first heard it quoted this way, " and endeavor to gain thy brother rather than to expose him." I have noticed that the most successful persons in any field most especially those fields that require excellence in human relations such as religious and public service, have used this rule. The best politician is not the most ruthless, rather the one who seeks to be a winner in a balanced way across the board. It is one thing simply to win an election, it is quite another issue and battle to win one's colleagues and fellows after one is elected. The same rule applies to all fields requiring us to work with others. In any confrontation, truth should be the primary aim, yet grace should be the primary means by which it is attained. I probably contributed a dollar's worth rather than two cents, my apologies are in order.

  4. says

    If I could put my two cents worth in here, may I say just a few words? This is a very necessary topic, and the initial post is so very well worded and the issue so very well treated. I pray the Lord to help me remember these three suggestions and principles to follow. Confrontation is inevitable. Sooner or later, especially in the Lord's work, it is going to happen. I don't like it, I avoid it like the plague, I steer around it, I defer it, I hide from it and even find myself subconsciously shielding myself from it. However, I know that these personal feelings toward this issue are primarily of the flesh and not of the Spirit of God. There is some godly merit to not "liking or pursuing" confrontation. In my humble opinion, anyone who seeks for, searches for or lives for confrontation could not be living out the fruit of the Spirit. However, that being said, we must face the fact that sometimes, confrontation is the only means of correcting a problem, saving a life from sin or saving a church from destruction. When this is the case, God help us to face this issue with godly courage an in the Spirit of Christ. One more thing, all Christians are not gifted to handle these prickly situations as well as others. Often times in churches this unpleasant task is delegated to the pastor by default, after all, he is expendable! It is assumed by some if not most Christians that the pastor receives at ordination or through his religious training some source of mystical ability to always be the confronting party. That simply is not true. Some people are naturally or spiritually gifted to be better at this than others. Sometimes the pastor is the last person in the church who should be the one to confront, depending on the nature of the problem. Naturally, if the issue is spiritual, it is the pastor's place and duty to confront the person regarding open sin or sinful, wrongful and unchristian attitudes. However, regardless who does the confronting, these three principles discussed in this topic should always be the order of the event. God help me and all other Christians to remember to follow these principles, both when being confronted and when being the one charged with the duty of confronting. William Penn made a wonderful comment that has been my rule for many years, "In all Debates, let Truth be thy Aim, not Victory, or an unjust Interest: And endeavor to gain, rather than to expose thy Antagonist". I suppose confrontation could be considered debate, for it often times ensues as such. However, let Penn's message be the ruling order, especially his words, "endeavor to gain, rather than to expose thy antagonist. I first heard it quoted this way, " and endeavor to gain thy brother rather than to expose him." I have noticed that the most successful persons in any field most especially those fields that require excellence in human relations such as religious and public service, have used this rule. The best politician is not the most ruthless, rather the one who seeks to be a winner in a balanced way across the board. It is one thing simply to win an election, it is quite another issue and battle to win one's colleagues and fellows after one is elected. The same rule applies to all fields requiring us to work with others. In any confrontation, truth should be the primary aim, yet grace should be the primary means by which it is attained. I probably contributed a dollar's worth rather than two cents, my apologies are in order.

  5. Michael Neal says

    I agree Brian, I am currently in a particular situation with a few neighbors and this has helped me and will even allow me to share it with others. To those who are stronger in their faith they will find the appropriate scriptures to support this.

  6. says

    Thank you for this blog. It reminds me to be kind in my words and my actions towards others. As a child, I remember a small plaque on the wall to remind our family of 3 boys and 1 girl to be kind to each other. Posted on the plaque was Ephesians 4:32 Kindness covers the 3 points above.

    Ephesians 4:32 (NASB95)
    Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

  7. says

    I found this advice to be useful for handling confrontations. Christians are not void of emotions and we need to be equipped to handle confrontations in such a way that we are can remain an effective witnesses for Christ, while resolving difficult issues that may arise.

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