When to Confront a Friend

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Confrontation can be painful and should not be jumped to in vengeance.

I want to touch on an issue that can be a little messy—confrontation. While healthy friendships are grounded in more good times than bad, even besties will occasionally find themselves in conflict. That's normal, but dealing with a fighting friend can be scary and painful. It's often even more confusing to know when it's a good idea to confront our friends and when to keep our mouths shut. 

Should you confront your friends about their clothing choices or dating relationships or media preferences. These are important questions, and because confrontation (especially with those we love most) can get messy, the answers can seem tough to figure out. Fortunately, God's Word has much to say about confronting others, specifically other believers. In fact, I've come up with four checkpoints to pass when considering confronting a friend. Here we go:

Confrontation should not be Plan A.

We shouldn't run toward confrontation. It shouldn't be our first reaction every time our feelings are hurt or we get a whiff of sin in the life of a friend. For some of you, this may seem obvious. Others may be wired more like I am. I've always been like one of those wild rams you see on the Discovery Channel. If there's a fight, I'm ready to fight it. If there's something that needs to be talked about, no matter how painful, I waste no time bringing it up. And if there's sin in the life of someone I love, I jump at the chance to speak truth. The results are often painful. That's because running toward conflict is not God's call for my life or yours. Here's proof. 

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense" (Proverbs 19:11).

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:2–3).

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:12–13).

What do these verses urge us to do? To overlook offenses. To be patient. To bear with one another in love. To make every effort to keep the peace. To forgive one another. There are circumstances when God's Word allows us to confront our Christian brothers and sisters, but it shouldn't be our first defense. 

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