The meaning of the word confront, can be misleading, when assuming it to only mean standing up to fight for the common good. However, in the context being used here, the word implies being there—rather than avoiding being there—even in an abusive environment. But this may also include being able to observe and concentrate on what is good, during the process of being there.
The deliverance of humanity was achieved at the cross. Jesus committed Himself to do what no other human being had ever done. He took the position of being there for the sinful humanity. It is possible that some people could die serving their own people. But dying for those who hate and despitefully use you, is a fiat achieved only by Jesus Christ.
Here we are talking about the pioneer who revealed the significance of being there—even under the most atrocious conditions. This is the man who declared being the way,the truth and the life (John 14:6).Adopting His way of life is the only magic wand that brings sanity in the sinful environment.
Allow me to use a discordant marriage as an illustration. The husband may consider his wife to be abusive—as making his life miserable. To confront his wife does not mean abrading her for what one considers to be unacceptable. Neither does it mean declaring divorce, as way out. It means just looking straight into her eyes and being there.
Confront, in this context, implies being there—even when wife does things that attract avoiding being there. Without falling into the trap of fighting back, or avoiding being there, the man decides just being there. The starting point would be willingness to look into her eyes without flinching. This should timely be considered as the simplest of all demeanours.
Being there,without looking into someone’s eyes, defeats the purpose of being there. One can be there in body, yet the mind would be somewhere else. Looking into another person’s eyes is another form of communication. This sends none verbal signals to the other person who may then perceive your true motives. This is harmless, yet highly effective.
In the process of being there, the wife might lash out abusive words against the husband—stating that she no longer loves him. However, whatever she does and says, has got nothing to do with the husband’s decision to be there—looking straight into her eyes. This may be the only woman with whom he is proudly the father of his children.
The next step might be just to give an effusive smile, as the man continues to look directly into his wife’s eyes. Some people may consider this suggestion not relevant in their circumstances. But this is the simplest of all actions, considered as stress-free,under the sun.
To start with, why should it be difficult to look into the eyes of another person? Let alone the person with whom one shares the same room? The woman, in our illustration, may decide to avoid—desiring not to be confronted in that manner. But she cannot justify succumbing to being offended by the conduct of being looked at—by a man with whom she shares the same room.
Chances are that she may be provoked to ask the simplest of all questions: “Why are you looking at me?” Whichever way the question is asked, it requires an intelligent answer. This may just require an effusive smile—causing her not to resist smiling back. Which then gives room for an opportunistic constructive dialogue.
If unable to answer this simplest of all questions, the derided husband might as well be the one needing to be confronted by his wife. The idea of confronting, in this manner, gets initiated by the one desiring to maintain, rather than destroy the marriage. Although it could as well be true that the marriage would already be in turmoil, due to some secrete activities by the offending spouse.
However, it is always the light that makes a difference where there is darkness. The other spouse might have already decided to break the marriage—having secretly engaged in another relationship. The confronting of this nature might as well not be relevant to a person already engaged in another relationship.
Yet the confronting of this nature would, indeed, still be relevant to the one victimized by such misconduct. That person uses confront, as the only effective tool in revealing the underlying causes of the marriage gone sour. The one holding some secret vice, cannot be readily willing to be confronted, under those circumstances.
He/she may,instead, choose to throw tantrums, accusing the confronting person of wrongdoing. But the person confronting would not be moved by that. He/she continues to look straight into the eyes of his/her spouse, without having to say anything, necessarily.
In the event that the opportunistic question comes: “Why are you looking at me?” Here comes an adaptable question that deserves an intelligent response—as long as genuinely asked. The Bible states that only the truth sets people free (John 8:32). This is notwithstanding that people commonly dislike truth—preferring lies, instead.
The truth starts with willingness to confront another person, directly into his/her eyes. The discussion on the question: “Why are you looking at me?” might reveal the underlying problems into that marriage. Possibly, being that the other person no longer has feelings for the other—due to some secret relationship? Handling that problem, requires coolness on the part of the one appreciating fully, the significance of confronting.
The marriage might be saved or logically terminated, where pretence is set aside, for truth to prevail. When such behaviour is taken as a virtuous conduct among people, divorce rates would radically come down. It is impossible, even for the wicked of this world, to resist the uncompromising qualities of truth.
Using marriage for illustration does not necessarily imply that only marriages require confronting in handling conflicts. Even political problems could easily be handled in this manner. I recently acquired some cognition after reading two books, by Joshua Nkomo and Ian Douglas Smith, respectively. “Joshua Nkomo—The Story of my Life” and Ian Smith’s “Bitter Harvest”
These two characters comprise what makes interesting Historical narration, leading to what Zimbabwe is today. This is a country born out of what is commonly known as a bitter armed struggle. After approximately forty years, we still have those holding the nostalgia of having fought in that “bitter armed struggle?” But not when truth is to be given merit over everything.
The two characters(Smith and Nkomo) sought to engage in talks in mid-seventies. This was before Nkomo’s later decision to engage in the armed struggle. I was one of those who fully supported Nkomo’s option for war, rather than waste time talking to Smith.I had been sold into believing that Smith had been unreasonably racist.
But, after reading the autobiographies of these two characters, I became convinced that the so-called liberation struggle may have been riddled with stupidity. This is especially when considering that more blacks lost their lives than whites, in that war. Followed by the yet to be explained reasons for the after-independence massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands.
Having had full understanding of the significance of confront—certainly, the war of liberation in Zimbabwe was very unreasonable. I am aware that this statement may irritate some people. But there is truth in that by walking out of talks with Smith, in 1975, Nkomo lost an opportunity to save lives.
Understandably,there was pressure from among Nkomo’s erstwhile supporters—assuming that using emotions is wiser than using reason. Their conclusion was that Zimbabwe needed war for total independence, in light of what had become the trend amongAfrican countries.
I suppose Nkomo also felt some sense of threat against his popularity—if not succumbing to what appeared as people’s wishes? But a true leader is the one who leads people—not the one necessarily being led by the people. Leadership ought to provide vision towards safety, rather than leading people towards death.
Nkomo may have, himself, later realized folly in his decisions, considering that the belligerent Mugabe became his own creature. Mugabe could not have arisen to power, without Nkomo. Yet it was Mugabe who later sought to annihilate Nkomo’s own people,more than Ian Smith.
The answer to the question whether Ian Smith was truly a Zimbabwean people’s enemy, can be checked when analytically reading Smith’s autobiography alongside Nkomo’s. My own conclusion, after reading those two books was that Smith was not as racist as people projected him to be.
He actually intended the best for the African people in Zimbabwe, whether rightly or wrongly judged by the uninformed ordinary people. However, I am aware that defending this conclusion might be as difficult as unable to readily confront those under the labyrinth of prejudicial racial emotions.
Common sense is what should guide normal people, rather than emotions—which are a result of inability to confront. Having studied the subject of confronting, my conclusive analysis is that Smith was truly betrayed by the British government, just as his book accurately reveals. Se also [Is Racism brewed in Britain, to promote white supremacism?]
What I am advancing here, according to my understanding, is simply that all relational conflicts, regarding humanity’s survival can simply be solved by confronting.It is not always accurate to assume that a person who disagrees with you, on any consideration should be labelled as an enemy.
Just by confronting that person, one can understand his/her point of view and take advantage of it, where necessary. Through the same confront, the other person might as well be in a position to appreciate one’s point of view. While different viewpoints will always exist, the desire to survive remains to be the common denominator among all peoples, regardless of race.
Philosophically,there is no disagreement in that all problems of humanity could easily be solved through communication. But the first fundamental aspect on matters of communication is confront. There is no way that any communication could ever commence without initiating the first step—which is to do with confronting the other person.
As long as humanity avoid each other—on matters of disagreements—we have a defeated humanity. This is as true as the expectation of the rising sun tomorrow. Failure to confront any problem in this life, highlights another level of insanity—as not only confined in psychiatric institutions.
A young man failing to confront pornographic addiction is insane. Just as any other person failing to confront some other bad-behaviour is insane. The measuring standard is willingness to confront whatever is contra-survival? If unable to confront, the person wouldn’t be different from those in psychiatric asylums. Except for the degree, that leads to consideration of incarceration by the equally uninformed so-called authorities.
There is no problem that threatens humanity, created in God’s image. Except that the same humanity is threatened, only as unable to confront problems affecting humanity. The perennially unanswered question is “why do people fail to confront what threatens their survival?”
This question does not arise, to the one having appreciated that all problems of humanity are an effect of failure to confront. This starts with failure to confront self, followed by failure to confront marital problems, which then leads to other societal problems.
The gigantic disastrous national problems as currently being experienced in Zimbabwe are an effect—having started with inability to confront self. Hopefully, a few of those reading these lines, will take advantage of my rendition and make a difference in a world gone berserk.
May the stance of Jesus be taken seriously by the sane ones? Being the only way towards life rather than sedative personal convenience—as characterized in modern Christian fads. There is not a single problem that is not a result of failure to confront, in this world. This requires willingness to confront, rather than ignore the realities of what leads to death.
AndrewMasuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99