Lessons from Confrontation
What should we learn from confrontation? What do we take away from a moment when we are forced into a hard but necessary conversation? Maybe we’re being confronted by someone who has a poor opinion of us or perhaps we have to confront a friend or co-worker over a wrong or slight. Maybe we have to face an estranged family member.
Whatever it may be, confrontation is part of life and the frequent nature of it demands that we try to glean something when the inevitable happens. I've certainly had several difficult exchanges in my life and leadership and the following are the most prominent lessons I've gathered:
You Can Always Learn something valuable from a confrontation. I’m not talking about learning from malignant insults or false accusations. Baseless allegations just hurt without redeeming value. I’m referring to the truth that is shared in a confrontation and the things that aren’t necessarily accurate but draw our attention to a blind spot or area in which we can improve. All moments can be teaching moments.
You Can’t Take Anything For Granted when it comes to interaction and relationships. Even the seemingly mundane things in a day can be interpreted and misinterpreted. That means we don’t get a pass on accountability if we’re feeling off, distracted or totally oblivious. People may get hurt.
Everyone Is Not Going To See Us for who we really are. I read a quote one time that said, “If you want to make everyone happy, go sell ice cream.” This is essentially true. Some people are just not going to like us based on certain circumstances (real or perceived). The hard part is realizing there is nothing we can do to change it.
God Uses Challenging Moments to bring us closer to Him. The time leading up to confrontation and the period following can be some of the richest moments spent with the Lord. He can minister to us in our weakness and brokenness and assure us that our worth is not found in man’s opinion but in being his child. He also disciplines us and turns our minds and hearts toward refinement and growth.
Forgiveness Cannot Be Controlled by the one offering the apology. Asking for forgiveness is never the wrong thing to do even when people question the sincerity or won’t receive it. We can’t make them forgive us. We are all called to be vulnerable and then what others do with our vulnerability is their responsibility.
Life Is Not For The Faint and thin-skinned. Things can get ugly at warp speed on this journey. Good relationships can deteriorate in a heartbeat and valued connections can be gone in an instant. We all have to do our part, carry the responsibility and exhibit the courage, strength and resilience to face exposure and helpless moments when we’d rather run away.