I hate confrontation. I remember when I was a teenager, being confronted by my dad or mom meant awkward conversations which would end in me trying to defend myself and failing at it.
Even today, I hate being confronted. The moment someone says they have some “feedback” to share with me, I want to run and hide somewhere.
But confrontation, actually saved a relationship.
One of my good friends today is someone who I love and pray for regularly. We both enjoy being talkative, keep trying to convince our Delhiite husbands that Bombay is better and are always looking for a chance to have pani puri together. When I got pregnant, she was the first one to cook me a meal, and not just any meal – but my favourite – Brinjal/Eggplant! She was also the first one along with her husband to gift our unborn child a gift (not even the parents or the grandparents have got this child anything!).
Our friendship wasn’t always this warm though. While it started off as warm and friendly, somewhere down the line, it got ugly.
When my friend joined our community, she joined with her bubbliness and love for people. Somewhere, our friendship got messed up. Once she started growing closer to our community I got very jealous and insecure and ended up being very competitive and hurtful towards her. As she got more involved in our community circle, instead of being warm and welcoming, I used to end up being very cold and would shut her out of my life. I used to deliberately make her feel like she didn’t fit into my life. I would push her away when she would be trying to get closer. This created a conflict in our friendship.
I gave in to slander several times, and this only aggravated our conflict. My attitude towards one person wasn’t just affecting her, but also the community we were part of.
One of the people I would complain to is my husband. One day, he very gently said these words to me “I don’t think the gospel is really renewing you. Why don’t you spend some time praying about it?”. While I refused to believe him at first, slowly like an onion, as each layer was being unravelled, the stench was too bad to bear. I decided to meet with one of my spiritual mentors and close friends, who helped me see the big picture. My mentor encouraged me to talk it out with my friend if I felt hurt.
My friend and I had met twice in the past to discuss this conflict in our friendship, and it did nothing to improve our relationship. But, paying heed to the advice my mentor gave me, I met her again.
We met and had probably one of the hardest but also most honest conversations I’ve had. This time, I explained how I felt hurt, why I had behaved the way I behaved (it was mostly justifying my behaviour). My friend was also honest with me, and she told me how I had hurt her, and a few others. When she opened up and was honest to me – I was able to see how I had acted selfishly and in pride, not at all centred in the Gospel. What my husband had said about not being renewed by the gospel sprung true in my life. All this while, I had treated myself as the victim, when in fact, I had actually victimised my friend with my rude thoughts, speech and behaviour.
Even though we had tried resolving our friendship in the past, it was this meeting that helped me see how I had sinned against my friend, and in turn against Christ. It was the first time I was able to see how I had hurt her and those around us. My friend says that it was nothing short of a miracle that brought our friendship on track. By God's grace, with prayer, it did get stronger and now we’re here.
This meeting helped me confront my mistakes. It helped me come face to face with what I had done wrong. It was nasty, but it led to healing.
When my friend did forgive me, and accept me into her life with open arms, it changed me – because if someone had hurt me the way I had hurt her I know that I would never have forgiven that person, but seeing her extend grace to me, helped me understand grace and forgiveness at a deeper level. It opened my eyes to see the power of the gospel to transform us, and our friendship. It taught me to repent, and taught me to be genuinely loving to someone I struggled to love.
I don’t have perfect relationships with everyone and sometimes fail to see that my behaviour or words are rejecting and hurtful. But, this experience has taught me to want to confront my sins and seek out as to why I am rejecting someone and see who it is I am actually rejecting when I reject a someone in my life.
Confrontation is hard, it is messy and often leaves me more broken than fixed. But confronting my sin, and asking God to expose my flaws has helped me see Jesus die in the place of my sin. When He fills in those cracks, He helps me see how He died for that flaw, and that He is willing to take me back into His fold.
Today when I look back, I wish I had pursued more friendships, and rejected fewer people. While I now see my fault, I hope I can save my present relationships from conflict, by confronting my behaviour in the prism of what Christ did on the cross – by graciously confronting my sin, defeating it, so God could accept me.
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