Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of Courage: The Courage To Confront

I had to confront someone this week who I love and respect.  Someone with a big heart, a generous spirit, and a close relationship with God.

How I didn't want to do it.

When I heard the voice on the phone I knew there might be a bit of messiness.

I instantly asked the All Wise One for wisdom.  For courage.  And to know exactly what to say and when to be silent.

For once in my life, I found the balance between cowardice and being a blowhard.  I think this 31 day challenge has really helped me in a practical way.  All I've been pondering I've tried hard to put into practice.  Lest I be the mother of all hypocrites.  (That's not to say I've done it all right...but moving in the forward direction is always good).

I was surprised at the peace I had even when this dear friend cut me off.  When uncomfortable topics brought a bit of heat, I didn't find it necessary to defend myself or go on the attack.  I tried very hard to speak the truth, understanding and communicating that my perspective is limited, and that I could be wrong.

Sharing this story is not intended to toot my horn.  I've failed in healthy confrontation far more than I've succeeded.  I've either avoided necessary conflict or bit someone's head off, or complained, or fussed or overeaten.  I've handled confrontation so poorly so many times that I'd be the proverbial "plank in my own eye" to even hint otherwise.  No, I share the story because I'm virtually certain that someone reading this feels the sweat forming on their neck just thinking about having to be honest with someone you so don't want to offend.  I want to help that person find their courage.  And to pray for the grace to do the thing right.

To be wise in dealing with difficult matters requires insight and wisdom we mere mortals lack. Thankfully, supernatural help is just a breath away.  Often the bigger problem comes in laying down our need to be right.  I found myself listening more than speaking in the conversation I had with my friend.  That's a really good sign.

"An element of conflict in any discussion is a very good thing.  It shows everyone is taking part and nobody's left out."  ~ Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey

Jimmy Stewart's quote as the inimitable Elwood Dowd in the 1940's cinema classic Harvey may be a bit simplistic.  After all, there are times people, including ourselves, can be unreasonable.  There are times confrontation is impossible because there is a resolute determination on someone's part not to hear or be heard.  This is when silence is truly golden. Beating one's head against a wall is useless.

The New Testament admonishes this: "Tell the truth in love."  I'm no expert, but I'm getting the revelation that motive is key in confrontation.  If we truly want the best for the person we are addressing, it's likely they'll sense that.  And if they don't end up understanding us in the end, it is 100% critical that forgiveness and grace be extended.

I don't know where this quote originated, but it says perfectly what I am trying to say haltingly:

"In the essentials; unity.  In the non-essentials; liberty.  In all things; charity."

May you have the courage to confront with great charity.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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