We don’t enjoy confrontation, but it’s impossible to grow without it. Healthy confrontation calls for ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15 NIV) to those we value. Just as God confronts each of us in areas where we need to grow, He expects us to do the same for others. Is it easy? No. But here are some guiding principles to help you:
(1) Talk to the person, not about them. Healthy confrontation should be direct and, when possible, done in private. It calls for thoughtful communication, delivered firmly but graciously. When people are hurting, handle them with care.
(2) Don’t exaggerate or use spiritual hype. Give specific examples. Don’t hide behind words like ‘I believe the Lord has shown me that you’re wrong.’ When Nathan the prophet confronted King David about his sin with Bathsheba, he was specific. And keep your emotions in check; allow enough time between the offence and the confrontation for a prayerful defusing of any anger you feel.
(3) Don’t guilt-trip them; help them. Don’t leave somebody in a stew without clear direction on how to improve. That’s not fair, and it’s not constructive. Actually, it can lead to more intense issues and unwanted complications. The best approach is to calmly identify the problem and suggest ways it can be resolved. Your goal isn’t to expose somebody but to show them a better way.
(4) Don’t be critical; be compassionate. If you miss everything else, don’t miss this! If you do, you will find yourself condemning rather than confronting. If you’re honest, you will admit that your own road to success has had some potholes—so approach others with love and concern.