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Confrontation vs. Combat - Girlfriends in God - August 28, 2014

  • 2014 Aug 28
  • COMMENTS

August 28, 2014
Confrontation vs. Combat
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6)

Friend to Friend

Dan and I just celebrated 38 years of marriage. And every single day has been filled with peace, marital bliss, peace … and I need to stop right there before a bolt of lightning strikes me dead! Dan and I have a great marriage – most of the time. Honestly, there have been days when I have thought about getting in the car and driving away. I am sure there have been more days when Dan has thought the same thing. We have weathered some severe storms in our marriage, and it is only by the grace of God that we still love and respect each other after 38 years. We are best friends – flawed and frail humans who say and do stupid, hurtful things. But we work hard at our marriage and let me tell you one thing – a good marriage requires hard work. We are committed to each other and to making the rest of our marriage the best part of our marriage. It didn’t start off that way.

Before Dan and I were married, I noticed several rough edges that needed to be sanded away and felt like I was just the one who could do it. After all, that’s what wives are for, right?

I decided to lay low for a few months, lulling Dan into a false sense of security and giving him a chance to make the changes on his own before I stepped in with my well-thought-out plan for his life. The only problem was that my plan did not line up with his plan. Furthermore, he seemed oblivious to the character flaws that were blatantly obvious to me.

After a few months of marital bliss during which I was fine-tuning my “Fix Dan Plan,” a seed of discontent took root and began to grow in my heart and in our marriage.

The strength I had once so admired in Dan now looked a whole lot like stubbornness.

Dan’s ability to take a complicated issue, dissect it, and boil it down to a three-step-plan now seemed patronizing and at times - meddlesome.

What I had once embraced as his devotion to me now seemed like his need to be in control of me.  

I could go on – but you get the picture.

It was obviously time for the execution of my sure-to-succeed plan of transforming my husband into the man that God and I thought he should be. Looking back, my arrogance and ignorance are laughable, but at the time, they were just plain wrong and yielded painful and disastrous results.

I will never forget the afternoon Dan gently confronted me in love and with amazing patience. I don’t remember much of the conversation, but I do remember the words that broke my heart and saved our marriage, “Honey, I’m not sure what is going on between us. But I do know that I want to love you like you need to be loved.”

Boom!

And there you have the recipe for a successful marriage – confrontation wrapped in love for the purpose of restoration. It is also the formula for cultivating peace and unity in every relationship.

Healthy confrontation is especially important when dealing with those difficult people who rub you the wrong way – the Sandpaper People in in your life.

Sandpaper people love a good fight and often mistake combat for confrontation. The two are not the same thing. Combat slowly corrodes and splinters while confrontation is an art that, when done correctly, improves and strengthens relationships.

To confront someone is to meet them head-on in the quest for compromise. Our heart motive must be love and restoration – not getting even and winning. Confrontation is an emotional tackle for the purpose of resolving conflict while promoting peace. Just as God separates us from our sin, He calls us to do the same with sandpaper people.

Most people I know hate confrontation and will do anything to avoid it. That is not all bad. In fact, if you love confrontation and drama, you are probably confronting for the wrong reason. On the other hand, if you refuse to confront, you are giving the impression that you are content with the status quo.

Silence is agreement.

Confrontation is a spiritual surgery that tends to be painful. But without it, the cancer of contention and discord will remain unfettered, free to grow and spread its deadly relationship poison. Confrontation is a gift we bring to every healthy relationship as well as the unhealthy relationships with which we struggle.

As fully devoted followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to bring confrontation into the picture when dealing with sandpaper people. There is a right way and a wrong way to confront. Confrontation is not combat. The success of any confrontation depends upon understanding the difference between the two.

Let’s Pray

Father, please teach me how to nurture the relationships in my life through healthy confrontation. I want every relationship to honor and please You. Teach me how to love like You love. Help me learn how to confront with a pure heart and the right motives.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read and memorize Proverbs 27:6 that says, Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6). What does this verse mean to you in the context of healthy confrontation?

More from the Girlfriends

Loving the unlovable is impossible – outside of God’s power and strength. Pray that God will give you His eyes to see the hurting and wounded He brings your way. The book, Sandpaper People, is my life story of how God taught me to deal with difficult people. Check it out…along with my CD, Love that Never Fails.

Be sure to check out Mary’s weekly Online Bible Study beginning August 11: A Glimpse of Heaven. Enroll now and have access to all 2014 lessons. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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Huntersville, NC 28070

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