Shelley pointed to the Bible’s instructions in Romans 12:18:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
“This biblical mandate doesn’t ask of us the impossible,” Shelley said. “It doesn’t ask us to play God or try to be god to anyone. It doesn’t ask us to be perfect. It reveals the ability we have to make powerful choices in our lives that increase our own peace so that we, in turn, can make a greater impact for good in our generation.”
Shelley shared from her book Why Can’t We Just Get Along? these helpful tips for confronting difficult people so we don’t fall into the trap of bitterness or regret:
Whenever we’re riddled with guilt or bitterness or regret, we remain shackled in chains that have already been unlocked for us. But it has always been and will always be our choice to remain in those shackles or to cast them off and run in the freedom purchased us by the forgiveness of the God who forgave us long before we could have even begun to wonder how we could make things right with Him. He set things right. He initiated the forgiveness of all of our wrongs toward Him. And He is the One who makes us able to offer that kind of forgiveness to others, whether they realize they need it or not.
Whenever we see that a confrontation is necessary, it is vital that we take the time needed to examine our own hearts and motives first. The importance of this cannot be overstated, so please take the time to do this thoroughly by asking yourself and answering these questions:
1. What is my motive in confronting this other person/group? If your answer reveals a desire for revenge, to put the other person in his/her place, or something of that flavor, please wait until your emotions have calmed down enough to handle the confrontation with respect for the other person.
2. Am I ready to accept that the other person may not respond the way I would prefer? Take the time to release your expectations and desires to your heavenly Father. Going into the confrontation with an agenda can put both you and the other person on the defensive if/when things don’t go your way.
3. Is this safe? Not to be melodramatic, but the truth is that some confrontations are unwise because the emotions involved can escalate in some situations putting one or both people at risk for harm—either verbally or physically. If it isn’t safe, don’t confront (or don’t go it alone). Common sense applies here.
4. What do I hope to gain? If you recognize that the importance is that your voice be heard, and not that the other person respond the way you desire, then you are probably ready to confront.
Remember … “the truth may be painful, but it should never be hurtful” (James Eubanks). Check your motives, investigate your desires, evaluate your safety, and acknowledge your hopes before heading into a confrontation with another person or group. I believe these steps will help you get your thoughts together for a respectful confrontation with just about anyone. (Just about!)
Go in peace.
Shelley Hendrix is a wife, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, television talk show host and the Founder of Church 4 Chicks. This blog post is an excerpt from her book, Why Can’t We Just Get Along? Six Effective Skills for Dealing with Difficult People, published by Harvest House Publishers. For more on this book, along with a sneak peek and online ordering options, visit: http://harvesthousepublishers.com/book/why-cant-we-just-get-along-2013/.