May 25, 2011

confrontation and follow through

I am notorious for finding myself in situations where my vehicle is hit by another vehicle.

Four years ago, I was stopped at a light, and the car that came up behind me failed/forgot to stop. Bumper damage.

A month or so ago, I was parked and dropping my car off at a hotel when a car backed out of a nearby spot straight into my driver's side door. 

I have to admit, I have had my fair share of fender benders that were my fault.  And I did what I had to do to resolve those issues. 

So it is frustrating that in each of the above situations, the person responsible never had to take responsibility.

Or rather, I haven't made them take responsibility.

Avoidance of confrontation is my M.O.  If I can resolve the issue another way, it is much preferable.  I don't like having to call someone up, sit them down, and tell them... this is not okay and you need to fix it. 

And so in the first situation, I put off the phone calls.  I passively wrote a letter that never got a response.  And eventually the time passed and I moved and it was never resolved.

In the second situation, I'm working up the courage to call and hold the person accountable that hit me.  Which means, I haven't done it yet.

I'm not sure where this avoidance comes from.  My mom is a fairly direct person... at least it has always seemed that way to me... and when there was a problem, she took care of business and she used her "taking care of business" voice and it always seemed to me that the issue was resolved.  That trait was NOT passed on to me!  And maybe that is only my own perspective as a girl and young woman watching my mother and she would describe herself differently... who knows! =)

I think one of the reasons that confrontation is so difficult for me is that I leave a lot of room for grace.  Perhaps too much room.  I know that some things are not okay, but I don't want to have to be the person who calls it out.

In my work as a pastor, I realize that both grace and truth are needed.  Repentance involves both truth about sin AND forgiveness... they are two sides of one coin.  To lean too heavily one way or the other leaves us with cheap grace or heavy handed morality.

In the Ascension Sunday text for this year in the lectionary, from the gospel of Luke, we are reminded that Christ calls us to preach repentence through the forgiveness of sin.  Repentence, the turning away from the past, leads us into forgiveness of our mistakes.  It leads us into a live of forgiveness for others.  But it also involves speaking the truth and confessing those things that need to be forgiven. In calling others to repent, we must also name the reality of sin that needs repenting!

May God grant me the grace to speak a little bit more truth, to make accountability just as important as forgiveness, and to get my car repaired without having to pay for it myself!

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