I do not like confrontation, and even though I have found it to be necessary, and many times the best and most healthy thing to do, I find myself wanting to avoid it at all costs. Sometimes, I still physically have tremors in a confrontational situation. However, after resolving the conflict I am always grateful that I got to the bottom of it and found resolve. I have a fairly strong belief which I live by, and it’s the idea that leaving things unresolved creates holes between people, and causes even the little things to eventually build up into feelings that take a long time to untangle.
In the Church this is even more critical and I believe it is a necessity if we want healthy churches. I could go on and quote a lot of scripture, and I know it’s there but I’m too tired to go look it all up right now, yet these things are more of a learned idea then a studied one. We don’t have much of a choice in the Church to avoid confrontation, we should be living together reconciling differences, and sharpening each other. When we notice something of another person, we should be able to confront them in love. This last sentence though comes with a lot of weight, our culture doesn’t cultivate loving confrontation very well, if at all.
Instead of lovingly correcting, encouraging, or pointing out flaws, our culture likes to put people down, discourage, and give “last chances”. It isn’t that a “last chance” is wrong, or even that it isn’t necessary at times – it’s that within the context of the Church that people get treated like the rest of the world. Jesus didn’t say to give people a last chance (that’s his job), he directed us to do the most we can do here on earth to encourage people towards him.
I could write a whole lot more, and I probably will. My last thought for tonight – without honest, loving, graceful truth-filled confrontation the Church can’t function as a light. We need people to be built up, lovingly guiding, encouraging, and confronting. If people are over promising and under delivering in the Church, that isn’t light producing, and it requires adjustment, and many times it will be you who needs to help adjust another part in the body.