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The Grace Project

Speaking the Truth in Love

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Eph 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
 
Beyond doubt the way that we as Christians can gauge our maturity in Christ by reflecting on our capacity to engage in healthy confrontation. The ability to engage in healthy confrontation transcends the church, affecting every aspect of our lives. Nonetheless, the reality is that for all but the pugnacious the idea of “confrontation” so often fills us with dread. One of the main reasons for that is that we tend to think of “confrontation” and “conflict” as being one and the same thing but they are quite different. Confrontation comes from a Latin word which means to turn your face toward, to look frontally. A conflict on the other hand describes a struggle or clash between opposing forces. In truth, conflict is what happens when confrontation has been avoided.
 
More often than not a confrontation is what Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend call “a boundary conversation” moreover, when we speak about boundaries we mean your “personal property line.” People without strong boundaries tend to be unsure of their opinions, feelings, and beliefs and consequently often find themselves controlled and manipulated yet at the same time unable to know how to take a stand in anything like an appropriate manner.
 
As Cloud and Townsend suggest, “Many of us live in two worlds. In one we have connection without truth; in the other, truth without connection.” One of the key principles in respect of confrontation is that boundary conversations work best when people both care for each other and tell the truth to each other. However, driven by our own insecurity we often resist the need to confront because we fear the following things:
 
Fear Factors that Prevent Confrontation 31
 
Losing Relationship:  The fear that the person will withdraw either emotionally or physically from them.
Being the Object of Anger:  They do not want to receive someone’s rage or blame about being confronted.
Being Hurtful:  They are concerned about wounding the person and hurting their feelings.
Being Perceived as Bad:  They want to be seen as a nice person, and they fear that they will be seen as unloving and unkind.
 
Most of us will be readily able to identify with these concerns, however the truth is that healthy confrontations not only preserve relationships they strengthen them. In addition, they bring disconnected people together. Many of us are regrettably able to name people who are no longer emotionally available to us or people that have been critical of us. Many if not all of us can point to disconnected relationships, which have resulted in alienation.
 
Cloud & Townsend assert that, “the extent to which two people can bring up and resolve issues is a crucial marker of the soundness of the relationship.” One thing is for sure, “Nothing is more miserable than to be in a relationship with someone, yet disconnected from them at the same time.”
 
The nature of human relationships is that we are created to be change agents for one another. We may not be able to change people but we can certainly do a great deal to promote change. In our interpersonal relationships, we need to realize that if we are not part of the solution then we are part of the problem. The reason for this is that we have a relational responsibility to confront one another. We have a “duty” to help one another to live higher and be better. There is no doubt that these conversations take courage but take courage my friends we called to empower one another to become who we really are by speaking the truth in love. 
 
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