Confrontation (and the difference between kindness and being nice)

“What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?” “No, we will run! And we will live!” – Braveheart

This is a poster (U.S. Navy ad) I saw in a Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream shop a while ago. This was before I cut out ice cream from my diet and thereby killed every ounce of happiness in my soul. Anyway, I have 2 questions…

1. Has anybody else noticed that Dippin’ Dots has been “the ice cream of the future” for about 25 years now? I don’t really think it took hold like they thought it would. It’s still just the “The Ice Cream of The Amusement Parks.”

2. When crisis comes (it always does), are you the type to run toward the fight or away from it?

Now, I’m going to guess that most of us enjoy confrontation about as much as we enjoy a good bone marrow transplant or spinal tap. And there are a relative few who relish confrontation so much they carry a bar stool around in their back pocket in case someone gets out of line. But what about healthy confrontation?

What if we learned when to run toward the fight instead of away from it? What if we summoned the courage to confront evil with good, darkness with light, and lies with truth? What if we figured out the difference between kindness and being nice?

I get the feeling sometimes that people confuse following Jesus with just being nice. The problem with that is sometimes Jesus wasn’t nice. Remember what he called the religious people of his day (snakes)? Not nice. Remember what he did to the people who were misusing the temple (kicked butt)? Not nice. And how ’bout what he did to that poor little fig tree (made it wither)? Not nice at all. Clearly there are times when it’s good and necessary to run towards the fight.

Think about your relationships, your team, your organization. Are there areas where healthy confrontation is needed? How many friendships could be salvaged, jobs made more efficient, teams made more successful, if we weren’t so afraid of not being nice? How much injustice would be thwarted if we began to run towards those battles and not away from them?

Think about it. Where are the problem areas in your relationships that need a healthy fight? What things are happening in the world that anger Jesus and need a holy butt-kicking? Who are the snakes that need to be called out because they’re missing the point? What things need to be destroyed because they’re not operating how God intended?

It’s time to rise up and run toward the fight.

It may be the kindest thing you can do.

“Fine speech, now where are you going?” “I’m going to pick a fight.” – Braveheart

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  1. Steve

    It’s interesting that Jesus’ penchant for confrontation gets lost in his overwhelming compassion. His entire ministry ran counter to the religious thinking of his day.

    You’ve got rules? I’ve got love for God and for neighbor. You’ve got more rules? I’ve got healing and forgiveness whenever and wherever you need it. His teaching led to conflict almost everywhere he went.

    We’ve created some sort of Hallmark Jesus. Good reminder that there’s a lot more to him…

    • Absolutely. John Eldredge equates some Christians view of Jesus to Mr. Rogers. Just a nice, meek neighbor. But (in his words), who would kill Mr. Rogers? Jesus was compassion personified, but he also got in people’s faces. Very powerful and connected people. Because someone needed to get in their faces. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for someone is confront them. It’s not “nice,” but it’s a loving act. Everything with Jesus is an act of love. Thanks for the feedback. Glad to be on the journey with you.