Even the word “awkward” is awkward.
Tension in relationships is inevitable. Here are some possible tensions that we regularly face AND NEED TO HAVE A HEALTHY EMOTIONAL RESPONSE FOR:
- You’re offended by something someone said or did to you OR someone is offended by you.
- You observe sin or destructive behavior in someone that could cause them or others harm.
- Presenting the gospel to someone who needs it. Sometimes the time is right and it’s just…awkward.
Can we have an awkward conversation?
Do you feel uncomfortable already?
I aim, in this blog, to help you associate that feeling with LOVE.
How do you handle correction (receiving and giving)? Let’s talk about it. Just kidding. I’ll share with you my random thoughts on hard conversations and your eyeballs can listen.
- Love corrects and receives correction.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (Proverbs 27:5-6a)
(See also entire book of Proverbs)
- Being willing to “say it like it is” is not necessarily the right heart posture for correcting someone.
Maybe you’re not “good at correcting people”? Maybe you’re arrogant or mean? This possibility should be considered.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6)
- Sweeping difficult issues under the rug and letting time erase them is not always the loving thing to do.
Not everything needs to be talked about. There is definitely a time to overlook offenses, but if you have a nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach about something awkward between you and someone you care about, it might be time for a conversation.
- Correcting people is scary-lean into the fear.
Cold hands and feet, a racing heart, and dry mouth are not indicators that you should steer clear. In fact, usually the contrary is true.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
- It’s easiest to expect people to be emotionally immature and defensive. That way you’re pleasantly surprised when they respond well.
Honestly, I feel conflicted saying this because on one hand, are we not called to believe the best in people? And doesn’t it lack faith to expect people to fall so short in this area? On the other hand–we are dealing with pride here (the way-down-deep-root of every sin). Instead of asking, “what if they respond poorly?” Face your fear before it happens and know that…they probably will have a genuinely HUMAN response and trust God’s Spirit to do the work afterward.
- It’s not time to correct someone until your heart is truly loving them and wanting their best.
You might need some heart transformation here first so pray and trust God to change your heart first. Pray blessings on the person, list thanks to God for all the things you appreciate about them. These are great ways to cultivate love.
- Correction changes lives.
We need each other…like really badly. The times in my life that someone who I knew loved me, called me out on my sin, were the most transformative–painful though they were!
- We should invite correction from others.
Lead by example by practicing this! Ask people you respect and love, “What ways do you observe that I could be a better parent, wife, friend, servant, teacher?” Don’t just ask anyone. Ask someone who you know cares about you!
- If you want peace in your heart about an awkward issue, talk about it.
You can wait and let time do it’s timely magic, you can pray, plead and beg, you can cry your face into the ground, you can journal your heart right into a book, you can obsess yourself into insomnia. Peace won’t come until you ACT.
- Even if someone inappropriately corrects us, (does it in front of others, does it angrily, does it accusingly, does it over text, doesn’t cushion it with grace) our heart should still ask the question, “What is true about what this person is saying that I can change?”
Maybe this Christmas you should give someone the gift of love–an awkward conversation.