Galatians 2:11

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.

The other week Coach Rick Carlyle got into a heated exchange with Rajon Rondo of the Dallas Mavericks. It was so heated that Rondo was suspended a game. They had a disagreement because the play the coach called Rondo ignored because he saw a “better” play as the point guard. It was hard to watch this replay over and over again of a player yelling back at his coach.

In contrast you have a Greg Popavich who still gets in the face of his all star players and expresses heated displeasure without any retaliation. They have won multiple championships. What’s the difference between the two? Relationship. Coach Popavich has earned the right to be heard not because he’s a winning coach but he has relationship with his players off the court. He cares about them.

Who is in relationship with you that has permission to get in your face when you mess up? The thing that separates the good from the great is that you have a teachable spirit. Every great player had a coach that they yielded their greatness to.

Peter and Paul were two of the greatest Apostles. Peter had coached or discipled Paul after his conversion. It was determined that Paul would do best serving the Gentiles and Peter preaching to the Jews. Paul had to get in the face of Peter because when all his Jewish friends came around Peter pulled away from the Gentiles. Paul (player) had to confront Peter (coach) because he made a bad play call. He confronted him to his face. Peter had left the playbook of Grace and started using old laws on new Christians. Paul loved Peter but he confronted him when he was wrong.

1. Confrontation should be done out of love not anger. When we get caught up in emotions the message gets lost. There has to be some relationship established before the confrontation.

2. The confrontation must be face to face. Don’t communicate between third parties. Everything that needs to be said needs to be said one on one.

3. Confrontation must be based on God’s grace not tradition. Rondo is an improvisational player. Coach Carlyle has a system. The system is like tradition and improvisation is like grace. Sometimes you have to have Grace when the system ain’t working. Gentiles were coming to Christ but the law(system) said they had to be circumcised. Grace said all they needed was to believe in Jesus. Paul confronted his coach because he was going back to an old system that blocked new people from getting to Christ.

If you are going to grow as a player or as a coach you have to be open to input from people who care enough to tell you the truth. You must be humble and have a teachable spirit. You can’t be quick to get angry. You must first understand before you’re understood. You must be slow to speak and quick to listen. You have to have somebody that can get in your face when you mess up; no matter who you are.

Dear God,

Give me a teachable spirit and accountable relationships with people who love me enough to tell me the truth. The only way I’m going to get better is for someone to speak truth in love when I need it. Thank you for sending me friends who love me enough to tell me the truth. Thank you for giving me the boldness and love to go to friends when they need to hear the truth. Thank you for being a friend that sticks closer than any brother.

In Jesus Name,