Care-fronting: Effective Communication
"We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church." - (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)
Thoughts for Today
Effective communication is important for every relationship. Nowhere is that more true than in a relationship with a loved one who is struggling with a life-controlling problem. But communication in that kind of a relationship can be especially challenging.
Effective communication with a person enslaved by a stronghold can be difficult because they are likely blinded to the reality of their condition and living in denial and delusion.
Jim Holwerda and David Egner express this well in their work on addiction:
The fantasy world of an addict is more important to him than the real world. As he lets his thoughts go, he becomes convinced that the scenario he constructs to support his addiction is true. . . . Along with distortion is a breakdown in logical thinking. The addicted person, for example, refuses to link alcohol abuse with impaired driving. Or sexual sin with a threat to his marriage. Or compulsive spending with bankruptcy.
Consider this …
When we have a friend or family with a life-controlling problem, we need to learn to get out of the way and allow God to work in their life. But even then, we need to communicate with them. Each effective communication chips away at their denial system.
Effective communication will lessen their defense mechanism and allow them to hear the truth in a caring way. We can help our loved one tear down a wall of defenses, brick by brick, until they can see themselves as they really are.
In his book Caring Enough to Confront, David Augsburger originates the term "care-fronting." He describes care-fronting as a communication technique that brings together the positive idea of caring with the negative idea of confronting. When we are motivated by caring, not anger, confronting our loved one with the truth can be the most loving thing we can do.
Lord, forgive me for the times I have confronted my loved one in anger. Teach me to speak the truth in love. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Concerned Persons: Because We Need Each Other by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. This group is designed for the many people who have a current or past relationship with a person who has a life-controlling problem.
- It emphasizes the need we all have for each other.
- It helps people focus on Christ rather than on the problem.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by providing a way to minister to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a study for individuals or couples.
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