Here we are with another seeming contradiction!
Isn’t confrontation ugly, “in-your-face”, loud, something to stay away from?
It wasn’t in Mark 10:17-19.
What does Jesus show us about love and confrontation?
- Jesus was gentle. He didn’t start with confrontation. In v. 17-20 He met a man who came running to Him asking questions. He answered those questions.
- Jesus recognized the greater need. In v. 20 the guy was still hanging around. Jesus knew the guy wanted more. Enter verse 21 – WOW!
I’ve heard this story lots of times before, but as I read it this time, the phrase
“Then Jesus looking at him, LOVED HIM, and said…” leaped up at me.
- Jesus was willing to confront because he LOVED this guy. And the guy was a stranger.
- Jesus confronted regardless of the outcome. The guy was sad at what Jesus said and went away sorrowful. Doesn’t appear in this passage that the confrontation produced change, but that didn’t stop Jesus from having a hard, honest conversation with this rich young ruler.
We’re trying to teach our boys this principle of being willing to have hard, honest conversations with others, but with gentleness and love. Our oldest has had a few chances to practice this (although, I have to say, I’m amazed at how quickly things get “talked” out. I’m not sure they should really be classified as “conversations”! In fact, one time the other mom & I spent more time talking about how the boys didn’t talk very long than they did actually talking things out!! 🙂
We can’t do much sharpening of each other if we’re afraid of the sparks.
Love is willing to confront the way Jesus did.