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Confronting in Conflict or in Love

September 1, 2009

Think about the last time you were in conflict with someone. Maybe it was a one on one issues, or maybe you had an issue to respond to in a group setting or a leadership role. How did you respond? Did you confront the issue or did you avoid it? If you confronted it did you do it in confrontation? Blame? Condemnation? Love?

Not long ago I was on the receiving end of a situation and those sharing with me spoke blame, condemnation, and broke the relationship with me. Like Adam responded when Eve sinned I felt like fingers were pointed at me being the entire source of the problem instead of others taking their responsibility. When conflict arises often all parties have a role in the conflict, at least we have a role in how we respond to the issues.

This weekend I had the opportunity as a leader for a youth/young adult event to address some disruptive and inappropriate behavior. I had a choice as to how to confront the issue. Should I respond with harshness and criticism or with love? I went before the entire retreat and choose to address the issue in love. Despite the choices others had made to cause disruption and made poor choices I told them of God’s forgiveness and how we can move forward in repentance and begin to make more mature choices. The impact of choosing to respond in love was huge! Youth said they had never heard anyone discipline with love. Leaders said they saw an example they will strongly consider in the future when they have to deal with an issue.

Our example for this comes from Christ. In the temple with those who had turned the temple into a place that was not glorifying to God he confronted with harshness and confrontation. With Peter who would ask dumb questions and didn’t learn the first time he responded with love. There are times for both. Next time you need to confront take a minute to ask God what method you should use, because the message that might be the most powerful could be something different from what you would consider with God’s lead.

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