“It was horrible.” Annabelle looked like she’d just stepped off an intense emotional roller coaster, and she was still reeling from the experience. “I know it wasn’t real, but it felt real!”
The German Bible school students were doing a role-play in pairs, practicing confrontation. Each pair was given a hypothetical situation – lying to a co-worker, misuse of company funds, etc. One student had the role of the confronter, and the other student was supposed to respond inappropriately – with angry accusations, avoidance of the issue, outright denial, or couldn’t-care-less dismissal. Some students were enjoying the activity, throwing themselves into their parts with enthusiasm. But most, like Annabelle, squirmed in their seats and had trouble verbalizing a direct rebuke, especially when it was not well received.
I knew exactly how they felt. Several years ago, in a workshop on interpersonal skills, I was paired with a gentle woman in her 60s for an exercise in healthy confrontation. My role was to approach her about inappropriate interactions with a male team member who was not her husband. Though my brain knew it was a completely made-up situation, it was still so hard to say those words of reproach to this sweet woman smiling across the table at me!
That experience really made me think. If I have trouble confronting someone in a safe, controlled environment, how will I be able to do it in real life?
I wonder if the prophet Nathan hesitated before going to confront King David about his sin. He must have felt some trepidation – God had told him to reproach the king of Israel for committing adultery and murder! But I admire Nathan’s wisdom in his approach, and his boldness to speak the truth. His heart-wrenching story of a poor family’s pet lamb that was slaughtered by their rich neighbor for a feast touched David’s shepherd heart. “The man who did this must die!” the king cried in anger. Can you imagine David’s conviction when Nathan replied, “YOU are the man!” (II Samuel 12:5&7, NIV, emphasis mine).
Is there someone in your life that you need to confront? Forgive anything you need to forgive, release the person and the results to God, and then ask Him to give you wisdom and boldness in addressing the issue. Like the prophet Nathan with King David, the Lord may use you to help that person see his or her sin, come to a place of repentance, and have a restored relationship with the Father!