Dealing with confrontation

Veteran Major League Baseball umpire Bill Guthrie was working behind the plate one afternoon and the catcher for the visiting team was repeatedly protesting his calls. Guthrie endured the pestering for a number of innings, but finally reached a point where he couldn’t take it anymore.

So he calmly broke his silence.

Umpire to Catcher

“Son,” he said, “you’ve been a big help to me in calling balls and strikes today, and I appreciate it. But I think I’ve got the hang of it now, so I’m going to ask you to go to the clubhouse and show whoever’s there how to take a shower.”

Most people probably would’ve snapped at this point. But the power of such an exchange wasn’t because Guthrie used emotionally charged words. It was because he took emotion off the table.

Ask a leader in any organization and he or she will tell you the best way to deal with a potential emotional explosion is to take emotion out of the conversation.

Confrontation is a must in the Christian life. So we can either use emotionally charged words that can hurt, or we can state the facts: “You did this, and it made me feel this way.”

Once emotion is off the table, you might even find that your confrontation will build up others— even strengthen your relationship with them.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

— Galatians 6:1

Prayer Challenge

Ask God to help you make confrontation constructive by leading with logic rather than emotion.

Questions for Thought

How have you seen emotions snowball in conversations to the point that nothing is being accomplished?

What are some tangible ways you can prepare yourself to handle confrontation logically before you enter into it?

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