Thursday, April 05, 2007

oh that crazy Paul...

3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer
4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.
5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

At some point this week a few thoughts popped into my mind. Not so much a 'popping 'but rather a lightning effect. You know the one, the one where a thought is so outstandingly brilliant in your mind you can't think of anything else for a moment because the truth in this one thought is so vivid that it overshadows everything else.
There is something about confrontation that bothers people. It bothers me. It aggrivates me. It forces me to be assertive and possibly even hurtful to someone if I am insensetive with my word choices.
Though I don't like to hurt people's feelings, I rather like to protect myself. It's a struggle I have dealt with for a while. I think it can be part of every human's desire but for me it is more so rooted in insecurity.
I would, proudly, tell you that I have become strong in my confrontation skills.
But is it always right to confront others? Paul seems to advocate that it is good and godly if the goal of it is verse 5.

Do we always see all sides of things? There can be so many internal and extrenal factors that are sewn into the fabric of everyday situations that it can seem easy for a physicist, such as myself, to feel like I have the whole situation understood. But when someone explains the emotional context of where they are to me I can often be put to shame for my assumptions.
Perhaps confrontation is one of those little understood dilemas in the Christian life.
It's similar to church discipline. My small group talked about that topic in 1 Corinthians 5 for a while with only minor revelation within the text. Mostly because life is messy. Imagine where we would be without the text!
I'm sure God uses our sincere attempts at confrontation to correct each other in a meaningful way.
But there is this strange thing that happens with confrontation- When you are forced to confront and you do so with a humble, heavy heart: You grow in character and you trust God more. When you seek what is God's best in a situation your desires are altered [growth] so you try to see situations and people the way God sees them. When you confront in a godly way you often build a stronger relationship with the confrontee. 'You have won your brother' is a common this is said. You have loved God by loving your brother and you have loved your brother by confronting out of love (that comes from the heart).

There was more to the thought in the moment it occured, but for now it is just food for thought...

1 comment:

Emily said...

Good stuff! So hard though... Especially figuring out whether or not the confrontation really IS Godly or if it's, in fact, full of impure motives...

I hate confrontation... I think how people have dealt with confronting me, too, has made me avoid confronting others. Not sure if that makes sense...