How to Lovingly Confront Someone

In the movie Toy Story, Rex the dinosaur says in his high little voice, “I don’t like confrontation!”

I couldn’t agree more with Rex! A memory from my college days that my best friend, Andrea, and I still laugh about was this time we confronted a girl in our dorm who was telling lies.

This is Andrea The Brave and me. Look, even in this picture I’m kind of cowering behind her! We were potluck roommates at TCU and best friends ever since. It was a “Divine Fix-Up!”

I say “we” but it was more like my roommate did the confronting. I was cowering on the top bunk, hiding under the covers. Periodically I would lean over the side of my bunk and whisper to Andrea what she should say.

Why is confronting someone so difficult to do?

For me, I am a people pleaser. I want to make sure everyone gets along. I am all about “harmony” so confronting someone is scary.

If something is bothering me and I think about approaching that person, a mind weed of fear crops up! That inner dialogue starts lying to me. They will get angry! Our friendship will end over this!

I end up creating this whole dramatic scene in my head! Total waste of energy and emotion about something that 99.9% of the time won’t happen!

If someone does something that hurts you, bothers you or upsets you, you have two choices:

1. Let things roll off your back. If it’s a one time incident you have the choice to offer them silent grace. Forgive them in your heart even if they don’t ask for forgiveness. Most times we get too easily offended and take things as a personal attack.

And if you choose to let things roll off, that means you really forgive. You don’t allow yourself to build up resentment. You don’t go around telling everyone how that person wronged you. You truly need to let it go.

Or…

2. If it’s more than a one time “oopsy” and starts happening frequently, you probably should confront that person. Read what it says in Matthew 18:15:

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him- work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.”

Over the past few years I’ve gotten better at discerning when I need to “let go” and just offer silent grace- that same undeserved love and forgiveness Christ gives us.

And I’ve learned to discern what should be confronted and how to do it from a place of love and compassion. Proverbs 15:1 says,

“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a fire.”

So here are 6 tips to help you if there is someone in your life you need to “Lovingly Confront.”

1. Tell Jesus all about it!

Tell him like he is right next to you and you are ‘venting” to your BFF.

2. Seek out his council

Psalm 37:5 commands us to:

“Open up before God, keep nothing back. He’ll do whatever needs to be done.”

 We are promised that God will give us answers when we open up!

3. Two words: Tone and Delivery

If you feel God guiding you to confront the person who upset you, remember it’s all about your tone and delivery!!  Keep your voice soft (a personal challenge for me), stick to the facts and explain what they did or said.

Look at what it says in Ephesians 4:32:

“Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”

4. Make a Plan

So plan out what you are going to say and make sure it comes from a place of compassion and love, just how Jesus would confront. Visualize the interaction…see yourself saying it calmly and visualize them being open to what you have to say.

5. Do it Face to Face

When you lovingly confront someone, make sure it’s done privately and IN person. Don’t confront electronically. They can’t hear your tone and delivery and most often people assume the wrong tone via email.

**Plus, what I learned being a teacher and confronting parents was that most people are not as mean in person as they would be if they were hiding behind a computer or texting from their phone.

6. Forgive and Move on!

After you lovingly confronted, know you did your part, and it is out of your control! They may get defensive or angry (that’s why you pray beforehand- pray for strength that you don’t respond to their anger with your anger). If they apologize, forgive! And if they don’t apologize, forgive anyway! Release it and let the Holy Spirit and God work on them.

You SERVE them by giving them a chance to make right what they did wrong to you. You are giving them an opportunity to apologize (because whatever they did may have been done unintentionally).

So here is what’s great about when you lovingly confront. You are actually SERVING God! You are doing what we are commanded to do as Christians; we are to love and serve and forgive!

If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?- John 20:23 (MSG)

7 thoughts on “How to Lovingly Confront Someone

  1. Good testimony, Katie! I remember 40 years ago how petrified I was, sitting in my car, about to attend my first 12-step meeting, about to confront the dreaded leader, “Big Ruth”, who cuts me up in little pieces with her tongue every time she sponsors me. . . . Ah, but The Word says, “Do not fear their faces . . .”, so I cast my fears on The Lord and went into the meeting. Big Ruth was there but strangely quiet that day. All went well. God closes the mouths of lions.

    • Liz! I loved reading your story about Big Ruth! And I love your last line- God closes the mouths of lions! Great affirmation! Thank you for leaving a comment!

      • Jennifer! Thank you for leaving a comment! It’s still hard for me to watch other people confronting other people ( does that even make sense? Lol) especially on TV- I literally will hide my face!

  2. Hi Katie…(Mija) Just read this and I must say..It could not have come at a better time.I will read over and over to make sure I get it. Thank You,Katie (Mija)

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  4. Thank you for sharing your experience Katie. I am currently praying whether or not to lovingly confront a number of people. It’s difficult like you said to discern whether to confront or let go. It is certainly hard to do, but I am greatly encouraged that Jesus even commended us to do this. I know this is over a year later, they can you pray for me? Thank you, and once again, great testimony! God bless you.

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