But how do we know the right option? In this video we’ll ask, “When should we overlook a fault. In the next video we will ask, how to we confront a fault.”
There are some offenses that must be overlooked if we are to survive in any relationship (1 Peter 4:8; Prov. 10:12; 12:16; 19:11). But when to do what?
Here are some questions to ask to help us decide if we are to “cover” or “overlook” an offense.
- What is my tendency? If I tend to default to confrontation, have I pushed myself harder to cover? If my tendency is to cover, have I sufficiently considered the need to confront?
- Am I just trying to avoid confrontation? If my motive is primarily to avoid unwanted confrontation, then covering may simply be the easy option, not the right one.
- Am I just trying to avoid addressing problems on my side? I may be motivated to cover rather than confront, if confronting would mean addressing faults on my side too.
- How important is this? If the offense is small enough, we may overlook.
- How clear is this? If my grievance is more about personal preferences and cultural norms than clear moral right and wrong, then overlooking is the right choice.
- Does the person show a pattern of this kind of behavior?If it’s just a one-off and out-of-character, then it is easier to cover than if this has become a regular habit.
- Will overlooking the fault hurt or damage the other person? Am I doing the person more harm than good by failing to help them address moral failings.
- Have other people been hurt or damaged? If it’s just me, then covering is more likely to be an option than if others have also been offended.
- Does this have the potential to spread? If the offending attitude, words, or actions, might make others do similar things, then confronting rather than covering is the answer.
- What else is going on in this person’s world? Are there stress factors which may mitigate the fault? A related question is “What’s going on in my world?” Am I under stress and overreacting to minor issues, or, alternatively, avoiding issues because I’m too stressed?
- Are there bigger faults to confront first? Sometimes tackling a small issue can result in a person refusing to hear us on far bigger issues.
- Was it intentional? If the person committed the offense deliberately and with full knowledge of doing wrong, then confronting is required, not covering.
Real men know when to cover offenses
- What is your tendency? To cover or confront?
- What circumstances have led you to cover in the past?
- What other questions or criteria should you use in deciding whether to cover or confront?