“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 MSG)
My definition of the “fight or flight syndrome” is what a person's reaction is to stressful circumstances, even in the ordinary course of his life. A person can either face the stress and “fight” back, or retreat and take flight. Sometimes it is so easy to just walk away and avoid trials that cross our paths and/or conversations with people during an uncomfortable circumstance. Or what about approaching a brother in love and helping him to get right with God? Some people have the gift of confrontation, while others try to dodge it.
When it comes to confronting a person, my first response to anger, hurt feelings, or administering discipline is to use confrontation as my very last resort rather than as my first approach, even though I know that by addressing big issues when they are still small, can greatly enhance a more positive influence, reaction, and result. There are many fears I have about confrontation such as; I may lose my temper, I may upset or make the other person angry, I am just being too sensitive, or what if they completely take it the wrong way and stop talking to me? But God’s desire is to make us mature and complete, and we’ll never know the extent of our character until we see how we react under pressure. As long as we maintain control of our emotions and try to be a peacemaker we are more likely to have a productive and loving conversation that will (hopefully!) produce a resolution.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” (Galatians 6:1 NLT)
We should approach each person and situation with the fruit of the spirit, with a patient and gentle manner willing to do whatever God is speaking in our hearts and directing us to do. The bible tells us that when we communicate to others it is important to value their viewpoints and ideas and listen before we make a reply. How a person handles confrontation is critical to the outcome of the relationship. When I do have to confront a situation or individual I try to follow certain guidelines and steps listed below.
· Plan how to approach the situation-pray for God’s wisdom and be prepared for what you are going to say before the confrontation takes place
· Focus on the problem and the desired outcome-Vow to not back down on the limits you have set when meeting the person or situation face to face.
· Be empathetic and know when to compromise-Do I care about the emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of the one I feel led to confront?
· Have confidence-Know what God has put on your heart, and with confidence follow through with what you believe is the right solution to the problem.
As Proverbs 15:31-32 teaches us, giving and receiving constructive criticism is a major development of our Christian development and maturity. It can refine our lives!