In our church-wide series, “The Face of Love”, we have been exploring Christian love. With a few weeks left, this week’s message (10.17.10) considers loving the hard-to-love. As part of loving these people, we explore what it looks like to deal with speaking truth in love.
Below is part of a post (see full post here) by Dr. Bill Donahue around David Augsburger’s work on “care-frontation”.
Incorrect thinking about Caring: “Caring is good; confronting is bad.”
The thinking: Do not try to pollute your caring behavior with any confronting of truth or reality. It just does not work. To care for someone effectively, candor and confrontation must be avoided, or you will hurt the person.
Incorrect thinking about Confronting: “Confronting is a bad word when compared to caring.”
The thinking: Confrontation is always less desirable than actually caring. To confront appropriately and with vigor, lay all caring aside. When angry, it is time to confront.
A Solution? Care-fronting: This balances love and power, leading to an effective relationship. Care-frontation offers genuine caring that also calls a person to face reality and grow. Augsburger teaches that to confront effectively is to offer the maximum of useful information with the minimum of threat.
Care-fronting unites love and power and unites concern for the relationship with concern for goals. This way, one can have something to stand for (goals) and someone to stand with (relationship) without sacrificing one for the other, or collapsing one into the other. Thus, one can love powerfully–and be powerfully loving.
These are not contradictory — they are complementary.