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Three Questions for Stacy Nelson
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By Jan White
 
What are your suggestions regarding confronting bullies or people who are defensive?
 
Like the author of the book, Hurt People Hurt People, says, someone needs to step up and share consequences of another’s behavior. It is making the invisible visible in their lives. Speaking the truth with grace is important so they can see themselves as others see him/her. One of the reasons to confront is to open another’s eyes and shed light showing them the natural rather than imposed consequences of their behavior. When this happens, the person confronted has to believe that you care about them and what happens to them. Otherwise the person becomes defensive. They need to trust the intent so they can listen to content. People need skills in the practical application of learning to share the whole truth that strengthens the relationship rather than damages it. If one does not have the skill set for this, it’s important to find a coach who is successful in being lovingly confrontive and develop the necessary skills. 
 
Is there an appropriate time to “turn the other cheek” or should one always tactfully confront?
 
There are two basic answers: The first is how does it deal with me? And the second is timing. Maybe it is not an appropriate time for them to safely hear me. Silence can also be strategic. I can use it to think through the situation. But if I am using silence to avoid an issue, than it is possible that I have become a part of the problem. I need to look at cause and effect and be honestly realistic with myself.
 
Some people have a natural intuition that something is wrong, should that be addressed?
 
It’s reasonable to address the other’s intent if you want a better relationship. If you want me to change, share specific behaviors that I am engaged in. It’s important to reflect on the path of action. What path was taken to have that intuition? What behavior? How did that intersect with my story? What’s my interpretation about what happened? Walk backwards on the path of action to what actually took place and how facts are mingled with interpretation.
 
Jan White pastors in team ministry with her husband, Phil White, in Simi Valley, California. Stacy Nelson is a leadership development coach