Most of us have awkward moments. Like that time you ran into your friend at the mall and she was with the guy you used to date.

Or that time your kid blurted out that you didn’t like Jane’s cooking while much to your dismay Jane happened to be standing right in front of your face.

Yeah…that’s awkward.

Most of us deal with awkward situations on a regular basis and have become quite adept at dealing with them.

In short, we ignore them.

We act like awkward doesn’t exist.

We turn our heads around. We cover our noses from the stench of it.

We run.

Interestingly Jesus did anything but run from awkward situations.

When he met the samaritan woman with a past at the well, he talked about her sex life.

When he ran into the rich young man with money troubles, he asked about his checking account.

When he sat down with the rulers and the pharisees, he talked about religion and politics.

No, Jesus was no coward, and He certainly didn’t run from difficult conversations.

We as followers of Jesus Christ cannot afford to turn our faces from difficult situations. We, like the Savior we follow, must learn how to deal with awkward situations in our daily lives.

I’d like to give you 4 principles to help guide you in dealing with the awkward situations in your life:

#1 There’s a Time and a Place for it

When Jesus had a talk with Zacchaeus, he did it in the privacy of his home. When Jesus confronted the samaritan woman, he did it alone at a well when he knew no one would just pop in for a minute. It’s like when I need to examine a kid’s private part: I always ask the chaperone in the room to stand by the door to make sure no one walks in at that awkward moment. There’s a time and a place to do everything. Ask the Lord for wisdom to know when.

#2 There’s a Way for it

We also need wisdom to know how. One thing I’ve learned from working in the ER is that you can’t let awkward situations get the upper hand. I used to mumble through conversations and use a lot of jargon and complicated words to try to convey my points. With 10 years of experience in the ER, I’ve finally figured out that the best way to handle awkward is to do it directly, succinctly and with the greatest amount of love possible. I find that people are much more receptive to the lovingly honest approach, don’t you?

#3 There’s Freedom in it

Have you ever busied yourself with your cell phone upon seeing that awkward person come down your lane? Or have you ever b lined to the washroom to avoid that awkward conversation? There is nothing worse than the bondage that comes from avoiding dealing with awkward head on. If you’re looking for freedom in your relationships, it starts right here.

#4 There’s no Way out of it

Sooner or later it comes back to haunt you. If there’s a wrong to be dealt with, it will rear its ugly head up eventually. If it’s causing you to grow a root of bitterness, God will make sure it gets plucked out eventually. You think you can run but you can’t hide. God wants His children to dwell in unity, and He will stop at nothing to make sure they do.

Hey, let’s not shy away from awkward. Let’s lovingly reach out to people no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.