The Art of Confrontation and Healthy Relationships

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5 mins read
collection of wood figures showing concept of resistance
Photo by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto on Pexels.com

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, maintaining healthy relationships can be a challenge. Misunderstandings, conflicts and offenses are bound to happen. But how we confront these issues and navigate through them can make all the difference. Let’s explore the teachings of Jesus on the art of confrontation and how it can lead to healthy relationships and communities.

The Importance of Confrontation

Confrontation is a word that often carries a negative connotation. It brings to mind heated arguments and hurt feelings. However, the teachings of Jesus shed new light on this topic. Jesus understood that confrontation is not about causing harm or proving oneself right. It’s about seeking resolution, fostering understanding and restoring relationships.

Jesus’ Practical Approach

In Matthew 18, Jesus provides a practical guide on how to address conflicts and offenses. He outlines three clear steps for confronting someone who has wronged us: 1. Confront the person face to face, one on one. 2. If they won’t listen, bring one or two others to confront them. 3. If they still won’t listen, involve your community or the church. Jesus emphasizes the importance of open communication and direct confrontation. By addressing the issue head-on, we prevent misunderstandings from festering and damaging relationships further.

Talking it Out

One of the key aspects of Jesus’ teaching is the emphasis on talking to the person directly. Jesus encourages us to go and point out their fault, just between the two of us (Matthew 18:15). This approach allows for open dialogue, understanding and the possibility of reconciliation. Too often, we resort to social media or other indirect means to express our grievances. However, Jesus teaches us that true resolution comes from face-to-face conversations. By engaging in direct communication, we create opportunities for healing, growth and stronger connections.

The Power of Listening

Another vital aspect of Jesus’ teachings on confrontation is the importance of listening. At each step of the confrontation process, Jesus emphasizes the need to listen. It’s not about winning an argument or proving a point; it’s about truly hearing the other person. Listening is a powerful tool for building empathy, understanding, and trust. By actively engaging in the listening process, we validate the other person’s experiences and emotions. Through listening, we create an environment where both parties can be heard and healing can take place.

Respecting Each Other’s Validity

In Jesus’ teachings, there is a notable absence of blaming the offended person or questioning their validity. Jesus recognizes that the offended person’s experience and feelings are valid. He emphasizes the importance of respecting them as a brother or sister (Matthew 18:15). In today’s culture, there is a tendency to dissect and scrutinize every word and action, often to the detriment of healthy relationships. Instead, Jesus calls us to offer inherent respect to one another. By acknowledging each other’s validity, we create a foundation for trust, compassion and reconciliation.

Unlimited Grace

Jesus’s teaching on confrontation concludes with a powerful reminder of unlimited grace. When Peter asks how many times he should forgive his brother or sister, Jesus responds, “Not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22). Unlimited grace means offering forgiveness and understanding even when it seems challenging or undeserved. It means acknowledging our own imperfections and extending compassion to others. By embracing unlimited grace, we create an environment where healing, growth and restoration can flourish.

Conclusion

Confrontation is an inevitable part of life, but how we approach it determines the outcome. By following Jesus’ teachings on confrontation, we can transform conflicts into opportunities for growth, understanding and healthier relationships. Let us remember the importance of open communication, direct confrontation, active listening and respecting each other’s validity. And above all, let us embrace the unlimited grace that Jesus offers, allowing us to move forward together in love and unity.

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