Recently I’ve shared with you some of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made over the last 10 years in vocational ministry. You can catch the first 3 here:
Here’s another one:
4. Avoiding confrontation.
The Bible says that we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. It also says that peacemakers are blessed, the humble are exalted, and that we should be kind and compassionate to one another (James 1:19, Matthew 5:9, 1 Peter 5:6, Ephesians 4:32). Honestly, there are days as a church leader where the last thing I feel like doing is being compassionate. Many a church member has received a mental chop in the throat for doing something that was well…pretty dumb.
I get it, we all mess up. Hello, I’m the one making a list of my biggest mistakes in ministry! However, instead of “speaking the truth in love”, I developed a habit of ignoring the “dumb stuff” and avoiding confrontation. My people pleasing tendencies and my propensity for letting the loudest voice win only fueled my avoidance fire. Plus, I figured by ignoring the problem it would just magically work itself out. Obviously it doesn’t work that way.
I soon realized that avoiding confrontations only made the situations worse for me and the offending party. So how did I fix the mistake?
I learned to “keep it real.”
The truth hurts and there’s no way around it. I’m not saying that it’s cool to be a jerk in the name of “I’m just saying.” What I am saying is that we can’t take ownership of how others will receive correction or counsel. In 10 years I’ve confronted a lot of people on some pretty serious life issues. I’ve confronted my closest friends and colleagues on spiritual and organizational issues. Guess what? No one died. No one got slapped in the mouth. Some feathers may have been ruffled, but in the end we were all better off because we got real and confronted the problem.