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DAY 27

Necessary Conversations

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6. Raising kids is equally amazing and terrifying. The opportunity to influence a life is incredible. The fear of messing up can also be intimidating. At these times, it can be helpful to think about the “way” you want your child to go. Let me explain.

Do you want your children to go the way of kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and courage? The best method is to lead by example. When we foster strife, anger, and disrespect in our family relationships, we teach our children to go that “way.” When we create a kind, merciful, forgiving, and courageous home, we are starting children down a better path. What does the “way” look like in your home?

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Job 23:1-27:23
2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11
Psalm 41:1-13
Proverbs 22:5-6

Devotional thought
Over the last few days, we have looked at Psalms, Proverbs, and the book of Job. Let’s circle back around to Paul’s letters to the Corinthians before this 30-day challenge ends. We finished 1 Corinthians and are now in the book of 2 Corinthians. Bible scholars think there were probably three or four letters actually written from Paul to the church at Corinth, but we only have two of those.

In today’s letter, the Apostle Paul writes about a difficult situation in which a member of the congregation was corrected for their sin (1 Cor. 5:1). He tells the members of the church to “forgive and comfort” this person so they will not be “overcome by excessive sorrow” in 2 Corinthians 2:7-8.

Fear and avoidance of conflict are common responses. In fact, they are so common that many people choose to live with the discomfort of a miserable marriage, misbehaving children, or unhealthy work relationships, just to avoid confronting the issues that are stressing them out.

In Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church, he coaches the people on how to navigate the uncomfortable and awkward process of confrontation. Here are a few takeaways we can all learn from:
1) Constructive confrontation seeks to heal.
2) Comfort is required after confronting.
3) Communicate forgiveness afterward.

What applies to me?
Have you ever been corrected and although the person giving feedback was right, their tone left you feeling embarrassed? Sometimes behavior patterns must be addressed, but how we confront problems and how we communicate afterward is key to the future health of our relationships.

When faced with the need to confront, try to remember that the problem is a mistake or behavior, not the person themself. Constructive confrontation avoids labeling, name-calling, or accusations. It can be helpful to plan to start and end the conversation on a positive note. When we speak up about a problem, it is our responsibility to be kind and seek peace. It is not our responsibility to control the reaction of the other person or force them to see things our way.

Whenever possible, follow up with comfort and communication of forgiveness. Silence can easily be interpreted as disapproval, especially in children. The type of restorative confrontation described by Paul strives for peace and healing as the end result. Confrontational conversations can be scary and uncomfortable, but sometimes they are the very thing God will use to facilitate the healthy relationships we are seeking. If you need to have a difficult conversation, have courage, be kind, share forgiveness, and trust God with the outcome.

[10 minutes]
Write it out: Are you facing a difficult conversation? Is it possible to apply restorative principles to the conversation? Take a moment to write your concern and your ideal outcome for the situation.

Pray it out: Some of us rush into confrontation easily while others hang back from confrontation in fear. Neither option is ideal. We need to cover any confrontational conversation in prayer first. God can give us wisdom and insight into the situation. Ask God to help you with tough conversations. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent.

Live it out: Today, seek resolution in your conversations and restoration in your relationships.