- Do you find it hard to confront others?
- Would you tolerate a superficial relationship rather than confront?
- Are there situations where conflict avoidance is an unloving choice?
Genuine relationships sometimes require confrontation for them to remain genuine. Let’s not settle for disingenuous relationships.
This is what we have when we allow people to believe they’re on good terms with us despite significant violations of the relationship.
Sometimes confrontation is a matter of integrity for those who love the truth and cannot accept insincerity and hypocrisy.
“If we can restore to full and intimate fellowship with ourselves a sinning and unrepentant brother, we reveal not the depth of our love, but its shallowness, for we are doing what is not for his highest good. Forgiveness which bypasses the need for repentance issues not from love but from sentimentality (John R. W. Stott, Confess Your Sins, p.35).
Does love cover or confront?
When relationships are based on the amazement of what God has done to forgive our sins (i.e. based on the gospel), love will “cover a multitude of sins” (i.e. offenses)” (I Peter 4:8).
Those who withhold forgiveness and restoration over minor offenses have lost sight of this amazement at God’s mercy toward their own lives. They are lacking in genuine love based in the gospel (see: Ephesians 4:32-5:1; Titus 3:1-7).
Where such love is absent, immaturity, pettiness and manipulation will threaten unity. Please take time to review the two principles for resolving conflict here.
On the other hand, when a relationship has been significantly and objectively violated, forgiveness does not necessarily require the offended person immediately to grant the same level of relationship back to an offender. (see: Hesitant to Reconcile).
- Even when God forgives our sins, He does not promise to remove all consequences created by our actions.
Being forgiven, restored and trusted is an amazing experience, but it’s important for those who hurt others to understand that their attitude and actions will affect the process of rebuilding trust.
Words alone are not sufficient to restore trust in such cases.
Watch your attitude
Please guard your attitude whenever you find it necessary to confront someone. We never confront from a position of sinless superiority or from lack of vulnerability to sin.
- “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves” (Galatians 6:1-3).
See also: Forgive, or else!