7/3/07

Initiating a difficult conversation

Lately I've been thinking about confrontation. Obviously to confront someone is different from just having a talk. It's when someone says to you, "We need to talk."

It's about initiating a difficult conversation. It's about bringing up a topic that you worry may be received with resistance--maybe even anger. Or the one confronted may feel hurt or rejected. (Count this blog as an exploration into my upcoming July 22 Sunday message.)

It seems there are two unhealthy approaches to confrontation that most of us seem to fall into: attack or avoid. One is motivated more by hostility, the other more by fear.

When it comes to confrontation, I look back and know that I've done both some attacking and some avoiding, but I'm guessing that most of us do more avoiding. I know I've created a lot of problems for myself and others by avoiding needed but difficult communication. I pray for courage.

Recently I was planning to initiate a confrontation in a situation where the safety of many people was at stake. However, circumstances changed enough that this difficult conversation became unnecessary. I confess I was relieved.

Healthy confrontation is not easy. I'm still learning. But it seems that it goes back to the instruction in scripture to "speak the truth in love." It's a balance that requires wisdom. "Lord, help me."