Friday, January 20, 2006

Speaking the Truth in Love

But speaking the truth in love… Eph. 4: 15

I avoid conflict. I hate it. I loathe it. I will do nearly anything to not have a confrontation with those I love or even a mere acquaintance. I have read books on the subject and tried several tips they give about changing the word conflict to clarification and all that. The thing is, to me, clarification feels like conflict. A change in semantics doesn’t change my response.

Christ did not avoid conflict. He walked straight into it if it was for the benefit of truth. Imagine the day he cleared the temple of the vendors. Talk about conflict with a capital C. Matthew reports that he knocked over tables. He was angry at the desecration of his Father’s house and he let them know that they were in the wrong. He didn’t stand to the side and say to his disciples, “Well, you know, this really isn’t right so don’t be a part of it.” He got in there and got his hands dirty. He let every person in the outer temple know that what was happening was wrong.

God has been working with me on this. There are times when truth must be spoken even when it is painful. There are times when speaking the truth leads to conflict, confrontation and clarification. During those times, I must be strong and listen to His leading. I must approach the conflict with the love that only He can give. I am required to speak the truth, for to not speak would be a lie and endanger my relationship with others and with God. It is not an easy lesson by any means. I have a long way to go and only God’s love and practice will get the lesson through my rather thick skull.


Karen Schmautz said...

I used to be very comfortable with conflict...especially if I felt I could "win" the argument. Now, I'm not so comfortable...the pleaser comes out in me.

Good post.

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

It is FEAR NOT. You have to face the mountain and go over it instead of around my mind. However, like you I avoid most all confrontation and never have felt comfortable debating or being in conflicting situations. On the flipside it is easier for me to deal with this writing (blog)but as far as fighting it that is not me. Through teachings though I have learned that it is the way you approach it..with a loving tone in a way that it is not defensive but still be able to voice your disagreement. This does work, but having to be strong to do usually avoided by me. I still have quite a bit to learn in this area...a weakness of mine.

I need to learn to let the Spirit speak through me instead of me trying to do it myself. Great post!

Dionne said...

Yah, unfortunately sometimes confrontation is necessary but it is never fun or easy.

Mark said...

Hi. I seem to invite conflict on my blog. At least, I seem to attract all the people who disagree with me. And I should know better than to post stuff about my religious beliefs on it, too. I always manage to offend people that way. And all I say is what comes directly from The Bible!

I absolutely hate to make people mad at me, but I will not compromise the truth to appease those who think the Bible is subject to their own carnal interpretation. I won't. It is the Word of God, and anyone that thinks any part of it is not accurate is heretical in my opinion.

Just yesterday, I posted a religious quiz, which I took and scored 100% Christianity and a Christian blogger buddy scored 75% Christianity and 44% Satanism. I said, If you score higher than 0% on Satanism, you perhaps should re-evaluate your belief system, and he took offense at that!

It was what I consider a helpful suggestion. I myself was concerned because I scored 17% in paganism. I was not offended. I looked at my belief system to determine what I believe that is contrary to the Bible. I believe that is what the quiz intended.

Gayle said...

I'll have to check out Mark's post as it sounds interesting.

I don't like conflict, but I will tell someone, face-to-face, if I feel they are dead wrong. It doesn't bother me if they don't like it, or choose not to like me for it. What does bother me is trying to debate with people who will not listen.

I used to leave my blog open for debate with liberals, but when they couldn't get me to see things their way they almost always resorted to name-calling and personal insults. I no longer bother myself with them because of that.

Most women have a problem with conflict. I'm older than you and have overcome that, but it takes time and hard work. The biggest reason for us being that way is becaue women are trained to be "pleasers." We are supposed to "get along with everyone." We are supposed to be "nice." Nice people don't argue... nice people are humble... blah, blah, blah! "Nice people" get walked on, stomped on, and run over! I'm not advocating being mean, just that I believe one must stand up for what one believes in and if my standing up for what I believe in gets in anyone's face, that's their problem, not mine.

You will get to that point someday yourself, I think. You will always know deep down in your heart when you are right! :)

juanitagf said...

Mark: I love reading your blog. The comments really run from one end to the other.

Actually, I think blogging is helping. I can comment on things without concerning myself of responses. I just need to pull it into "real" life...

Anonymous said...

jgf: Interesting blog. I don't to call it conflict, but stimulating dialogue (no pun intended). The one thing you have to always remember is that people will always disagree with something you say. Think about it; if they can have issues with Christ; they'll definitely have issues with us.

Mark: where is that quiz?

Ritsumei said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I was defriended today on facebook, after speaking truth yesterday to a very old friend from church. I have spent the day searching my heart, asking myself if I should have kept my trap shut. You are now the third person whose words have been a comfort to me this afternoon, and yours is an example from the life of the Master himself. In a day of soul-searching, I haven't been able to find much, if anything, that I would un-say, and nothing that I feel to apologize for. And I still doubt myself. But I think the message I'm supposed to be hearing is clear: I'm OK. Sometimes the truth hurts. Hopefully my friend will heal and we can resume our interrupted friendship.