One day, when my son was just beginning to walk, he spotted a small house plant sitting on a table. He knocked it over, dirt went flying. I yelled at him.
My husband asked me, “Why did you get so angry over that?” And I said, “Oh, I’m not angry.”
In the family I grew up in, if you corrected a child, you did so with an angry voice. That’s how my parents acted. So I thought, that’s what I was supposed to do now, as a mom.
It was a freeing, revolutionary thought, that I did NOT have to parent that way!
What about your upbringing? Your culture?
I am aware that some cultures are particularly good at making people feel ashamed.
Recently, a friend of mine was interacting with leaders in another country. She was trying to help them see how to confront someone, give feedback, AND be loving about it.
I thought what she shared was helpful. So here it is for you.
She posed this question, “What could you say to the person who had failed to do his part of the work and was not holding up the team’s progress?”
She suggested this approach, “I haven’t seen anything yet on the action point you had for last Friday. Can you bring me up to date on what is happening?”
People were shocked by the lack of shame in that approach. No condemnation. No harshness.
How do you communicate that “I am on your side. I am for you. We have a problem to solve.” She said, you communicate with Truth and Love.
She talked about how to combine Ephesians 4:15 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Here’s what that might look like.
- Speak the truth with patience, because love is patient.
- Speak the truth with kindness, because love is kind.
- Speak the truth with good will, because love does not envy.
- Speak the truth with modesty, because love does not boast.
- Speak the truth with humility, because love is not proud.
- Speak the truth with respect, because love is not rude.
- Speak the truth with self- control, because love is not easily angered.
- Speak the truth with forgiveness, because love does not keep a record of wrongs.
Pretty good. It requires prayer beforehand. I’ve personally been in a challenging relationship and God has been so kind to provide this kind of communication. I needed to confront a friend, and I saw God allowing me to do it in a loving way.
Hope this is helpful to you also.