Confrontation can be a Spiritual Experience

It’s often a bad idea to work for the church you attend. But that’s what I did for 13 years. Without giving details about numerous negative experiences, I’ll just say that I had a naive way of handling disagreeable, rude, pushy people. I always took what I thought was the high road. That meant not pushing back, not striking people between the eyes with rude zingers. I would pray for the person and ask God to help me understand why they were so unlovely. For a long time this method worked for me. I was able to see beneath some stone-cold exteriors to a deep place where perhaps they had suffered or felt inferior. This enabled me to forgive and forget.

After a time, this taking the high road method of handling difficult people got the best of me. I felt angry, hurt. And isolated, because I seldom told anyone how I really felt, or even admitted it to myself.

In my state of misery, God began to teach me an important lesson – confronting people isn’t a Godless thing to do. It was either learn a better way of handling insults or end up sick because of it. One particular incident hurt me deeply. All my praying and crying and trying to understand didn’t help. I finally opened up and told my sister about this situation. She said, “You can’t just ignore that, you have to address it.” Address it? Scary thought.

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” (I Corinthians 16:13,14)

A few days later, while I was busy at my desk, the person I needed to confront came into the church. I sent up a quick prayer for courage and told the person we needed to talk. I told them I felt what they’d done was wrong. In the end, they disagreed.

I returned to my desk with a feeling of euphoria – I had actually confronted an issue that had caused me a lot of pain. The person stubbornly refused to acknowledge their transgression. Our face-off hadn’t changed them. But it did change me. My anger and hurt dissipated, I felt re-born.

God let me take the coward’s way for a long time but eventually that stopped working for me. What I lacked was courage. No amount of spiritualizing a problem could make up for my lack of courage.

Making it Personal: Lord, my way of handling difficult situations isn’t working. Help me to learn and practice Your ways.

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About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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7 Responses to Confrontation can be a Spiritual Experience

  1. What a fabulous post, Rose. I love the “confronting people isn’t a Godless thing to do.” The first thing that actually popped into my head when I read that was Jesus! He confronted people directly, and occasionally He even got openly furious. But I was just thinking about this earlier today. He never expressed anger just for anger’s sake — it had to be a healing thing. You’re onto something here, and this is a really hard thing for us “nice” people to learn, but it’s very empowering. 🙂

    • Joan – yes good clean confrontation is very difficult to learn . . . it’s taken me years and I’m still not good at it. Fortunately, I seldom have to confront these days 🙂

  2. Mary says:

    This is a great article, Rose – something that will, I think, help a lot of people who are in the same position.

  3. So true Lenora. The whole issue of confrontation is a difficult one because so many people confront in a belligerent way. To confront without accusing is the key.

  4. How and in what attitude we handle challenges, determine final results.

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