Avoiding Confrontation

Written on 05/06/2022
Christian Dunn

Verse: Colossians 3:11-14

11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Why is it so hard to confront someone who has hurt us? Depending on our personality, we could respond in a number of ways other than moving towards the person.

(1) Avoidance - we could avoid it because confrontation makes us uncomfortable. Or we could avoid it because we tell ourselves, "it's not that big of a deal, I can get over this" - but then it ends up souring our relationship.

(2) Sideways Confrontation - this is when we don't actually confront them, but we sort of "let them know" with sarcastic comments, or jokes where we say "just kidding" but actually we're serious. Those comments and jokes are coming from a place of pain, not a place of love. 

(3) Building Alliances - we do this when, rather than going to the person and talking it out, we go to other people and try to get them to see it our way. We tell them about what happened (gossip) and then try to win them over to our side. This is poisonous behavior. I use that word on purpose, because it poisons other people against the person who hurt you. 

(4) Destructive Confrontation - how many times have we all done this? This is often done in the heat of the moment when we react out of anger and hurt, rather than taking time to cool down and respond in love. This can be anything from angry outbursts, to shutting down someone else in an argument, to calling people names, and worse.

There are probably others, right? But Scripture encourages us to bear with each other and forgive each other. We can't do this if we don't both offer honesty, and offer compassion and forgiveness. We have to be willing to sit down with each other and share in love how we've been hurt so that the other person can offer forgiveness, and then we can both find healing. It is one of the most powerful Christian practices - the practice of forgiveness. 

Which of the ones above is your "go to" method of avoiding confrontation? Is there anyone you need to confront over ways they've hurt you, so that they can move into forgiveness?

Help me to live a life of forgiveness with those around me!