I don’t know about you, but sometimes I talk a really big game. I can get worked up with the best of them about what I would do, or say, given the chance to speak my mind. THEN they’d be in BIG trouble.
Truth is, instinctively confrontation scares the living daylights out of me. I’m all talk and about .01% follow-through. And on the rare occasion I have been pushed to speak my unfiltered mind or stand up for myself, I usually feel the need to apologize five minutes later and usurp any and all of the blame. Even if it wasn’t my fault.
Mmmm, but isn’t that we’re SUPPOSED to do as Christians? Turn the other cheek? Give of ourselves? Keep no record of wrongs? Find the compromise?
Yes, it is. So for a lot of years I took it to the extreme. I became a human doormat. I allowed myself to be cheated, lied to, taken advantage of, I did all the work for the group projects, I always planned the surprise parties, blah, blah, blah, poor me, you’re all invited to the pity party.
And then one day I got sick of it and decided enough was enough. After all God wasn’t calling me to be weak! I was a strong woman of God! I was so afraid that I would be taken advantage of again that I went through a streak of refusing to compromise about anything. Even when I actually was wrong and unreasonable. Something inside me reared back and said “No! You’ve been the doormat for long enough! Now you get what YOU want! Everyone needs to cater to YOU! ALL OF THE PEOPLE!!!!”
In reality it probably wasn’t that extreme and the people I chose to “confront” were usually people that were obligated to love me even if I did act like a tool. Like my mom. Or my sister. Or my best friend.
Although we are called to turn the other cheek and be peacemakers, the Bible does not call us to a life of doormat-hood. Jesus wasn’t a doormat, but He also didn’t walk around looking for easy targets to smack in the face with doors either. And Jesus was always right. He totally could have just dominated everyone all the time.
Here’s the deal, Jesus corrected people in love. He did not demand His own way, but He still stood up for what was right. If you want to see heart-change happen, then appeal to the heart. You can confront someone without belittling them. Approach the situation with humility and not because your pride has been hurt.
Jesus corrected people because He loved them and He wanted to see them change from the inside out. He wanted them to distinguish eternal truth from worldly standards and then live their lives out of that truth.
Is that why we confront people? To help them find the path God wants them to be walking down? Not usually. I generally want to confront someone because I think they are a jerk and they need to be put in their place. Which is 100% the wrong motivation for confrontation.
If you want a great example of someone everyone (society included) expected to be a doormat, take a look at Queen Esther. A teenage Jewish girl, she was chosen to marry the king of most of the known world. She was only supposed to be around when called upon or speak when spoken to. And the last queen was killed for having too much of an opinion. Not much there to encourage you to speak out.
But Esther did speak out. After uncovering a plot to kill all the Jews (her people) she appealed to the king in humility and gained his trust. She served him and prepared a banquet for him before ever confronting the choices he had allowed his right-hand man (Haman) to make [Esther 1-10:3].
It would have been easier for her to stay silent. It would have been less dangerous to stay the doormat. But Esther knew what was right and decided to do something about it. She cared about her husband the king and her people too much to not get involved in a little confrontation.
What is at the heart of your desire for confrontation? Ego? Pride? Or is it genuine concern for the welfare of another person and the path they have chosen? Confrontation should only be done in humility, after prayer and seeking wisdom.
Conversely, what is at the heart of your desire to remain a doormat? Fear? Apathy? We are called to take a stand. To be a light to those in darkness. You cannot blend in if you were born to shine. You have the power to change circumstances, to stand up for what is right.
Jesus was a loving warrior. A humble defender of truth. We are called to be the same through the Holy Spirit. It’s time to shine.
Proverbs 15:1– A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Galatians 6:1- 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. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Matthew 18:15-16– If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.