Conflict Part 1: Carefront or Confront?

Few people like conflict. It makes us feel uneasy, uncomfortable, nervous, scared. Conflict ranks just below teaching the Bible and prayer in top ministry activities. This week we will be looking at some principles related to conflict and how to manage it. Today, we will look at Carefronting vs Confronting. This addresses the mindset we have in conflict.

The difference
Goal: Reconciliation
Focus: Loving the person
Attitude: Humility or concern
Approach: Demonstrates concern for the person, seeks understanding

Goal: Justice
Focus: Changing the person
Attitude: Anger or pride
Approach: Demonstrates concern for the issue, seeks retribution

What carefronting is not
Carefronting is not the absence of: anger, the need for change, justice or frustration. Those things are natural to conflict. Carefronting does not mean one is a softy or a push over. Carefronting does not mean sweeping something under the rug.

We really want payback
We love angry tirades! Let’s admit it: Jesus clearing the temple or chastising the Pharisees seems exciting to us. We love the emotional release of anger and vengeance. After all, the Bible instructs us to be separate, be holy, be pure. The Bible has a word for that approach from His own: arrogance. “Vengeance is mine, says the LORD.” The struggle of conflict is the dark side of our soul. We want payback, God wants reconciliation. Take a minute to read 1 Corinthians 13. Circle the words that relate to conflict. Does payback fit love? Does our thirst for the emotional release of anger and vengeance fit this passage? Carefronting is demonstrating love. Love is hard!

Carefronting is meekness
Power under control defines meekness. Example: God sent Jesus as payment for our sin. He could have easily killed off the human population like He did in the flood. God has the power to do that. God instead took the John 3:16 approach. That is meekness. Carefronting is approaching the problem with the goal of restoration.

Seeds not Redwoods
Seeds are small and powerless. Redwoods are massive, with deep roots, and will likely cause damage when they fall.

Carefronting best starts before something becomes an issue (the seed). Conflicts explode because we often do not want to take action early before something is a problem. If you hate conflict, deal with things early and you will avoid many, but you will never avoid all.  To deal with seeds means we need to get over ourselves. Carefronting starts with care. If we truly love and care about someone, we start early, not later.

Bottom line:
Carefronting is speaking the truth in love. Carefronting is bearing one another’s burdens. Look at Carefronting vs Confronting again. If you are in a conflict, which mindset are you pursuing? Carefronting is about living Ephesians 4:32:

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

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