The Other Side of Confrontation


If you are a teacher, employer, parent, or member of a family, chances are you have had to correct or confront someone. It is often painful to say what needs to be said, and you can begin to doubt yourself.

Were the words misunderstood? Were they too harsh? But if you found out later that your words resulted in a positive change, those feelings of uncertainty vanished. The relationship was restored, and that had been the goal all along.

  • When was a time that you needed to confront someone about a misunderstanding or an action? What was the result?



Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. 13 Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.


  1. Paul’s reputation and integrity had been called into question. How did he defend himself (vs. 2)? What emotions did he have while he did this (vs. 4)?
  2. How did Paul feel when he arrived in Macedonia (vs. 5)? The important phrase “But God…” changed his feelings; how did God do that (vss. 6-7)?
  3. The words “grief” and “grieve” are mentioned eight times in four verses (vss. 8-11). What caused this grief and what was the outcome of it?
  4. What is the difference between godly grief and wordly grief (vs. 10)?
  5. Is there a situation where God is leading you to confront someone in a loving manner? Conversely, where do you need to ask God for a godly grief, leading to repentance and change in your life?


Confrontation is never easy. Paul took a risk by confronting the Corinthians about believing false accusations made about him and his ministry. It was a bold move, but he saw their relationship to be worth the risk. The result was godly grief, which led the congregation to see their error and repent. It was a healthy response that allowed their relationship to be restored. As hard as confrontation can be, when the end is better than the beginning, it is worth the work.

  • Ask God to show you any relationship in your life that needs to be reconciled. Ask him for loving boldness to take the first step.
  • Thank God that he is a God of reconciliation and mended relationships.