A Short Book Review on "Confronting Without Offending"
Deborah Pegues’ book, Confronting Without Offending, offers the reader a clear and concise, scripturally supported, guide to a better understanding of the art of positive confrontation. She begins by dispelling the myth that confrontation is always negative or that Christians should endeavor to avoid it and then moves straight into supporting her statements with Biblical proofs. Her guidebook explains steps to take in certain situations and refers back to examples found within familiar Bible stories and breaks down step by step the lessons to be gleaned from the offered texts.
Pegues indicates vitalness of confrontation by pointing out the physical and emotional toll that keeping things bottled up can take and goes on to address situations in which a person should take a stand and chose to engage in confrontation. She then begins to attempt to teach the reader, the most healthy, positive, and productive way to confront someone and how to avoid the negative pitfalls such as retaliation that can sometimes accompany attempts to confront. Examples such as the negotiations brought on from the Daughters of Zelophehad, Jethro Verses Moses, and Jacob Verses Esau help the reader understand the potential follies of incorrect approaches and the potential gain of correct ones.
The Conflict Management Styles
The author challenges the reader’s convictions on the matter from the very beginning through statements such as “Confrontation is necessary for growth. If we care, we will confront and believe God for a favorable outcome” (Pegues, 2009). She also reassures and encourages the reader with statements like “No one was born with an innate ability to confront interpersonal conflicts effectively. It’s a skill that’s learned and perfected through practice and patience” (Pegues, 2009). Walking the reader through the four main types of conflict management styles, The Dictator, The Accommodator, The Abdicator, and The Collaborator, the author is not afraid to force the reader to acknowledge some potentially uncomfortable truths about themselves. She even uses some fun and engaging activities and exercises such a personality tests to aid the reader in learning and accepting more about their own leadership style and the “Confrontation Sandwich” worksheet to help them improve upon it and to prepare the reader to put the practices offered in the book to good use.
Finally, review questions are employed at the end of each chapter to improve the readers comprehension of the material. Perhaps most useful and second only in importance to her consistent relevant references to the scriptures, the author completes the book with hypothetical scenarios to illustrate real world applications of the concepts that have been taught. Pegues’ book offers a no nonsense, clear picture of what positive conflict management looks like through a variety of lessons, encourages the reader to deploy the newly learned tactics in their day to day lives, reminds us that it is something that we are responsible for doing as Christians, and models how simple the process can be.
A Worthwhile Read for Christian Leaders in any Field
While I enjoyed the book greatly, I felt the author could have done a better job at offering the hypothetical scenarios. She offered several at the end of the book but I think that they would have had more of an impact on my reading if offered sporadically throughout the book alongside the other exercises. I think activities and exercises help the reader digest the material by enabling them to experience and see it in action, but Pegues saved some of that for the end which causes them to become repetitive and tedious reading rather than the helpful tool they could have been. Additionally, her hypotheticals were very general in some ways. While she offered examples based on real individuals, she did not seem to do the same with the real-world application scenarios of her lessons. I think it could have been improved by offering scenarios that real individuals had experienced as it helps the reader see that in fact, not only does the author suspect that these things will work if put to use in the workplace, rather, they have worked already and not just in the distant past, but in modern times and in the modern office. Also, I think it would have been helpful for her to have engaged the reader in some brainstorming activities regarding the right times to engage in some of the types of conflict management that are not always ideal. For example, she talked about the idea that there are times when abdication or accommodation were appropriate, so maybe have the reader brainstorm times in his or her line of work in which it would be appropriate to utilize these tactics as the best defense strategies are ones that are prepared ahead of time.
Pegues, D. S. (2009). Confronting Without Offending. Harvest House Publishers. Retrieved from https://app.wordsearchbible.com.]
© 2019 Myranda Grecinger