The Thai tendency is to avoid direct confrontation so as to preserve surface harmony. Thais hate confrontation. Among Thais, serious and permanent damage is done to a relationship when a stage of open argument is reached. Face- to-face conflict is not viewed as a satisfactory solution to most problems. In Thailand it may not only be necessary but also desirable to beat around the bush in order to forestall an abrasive, open clash. (Mejudhon 2005, 167-168)
Christians should be aware that Thai people have big egos, a deep sense of independence, much pride and dignity. They cannot tolerate a violation of the ego self. Christians should not make the Thai lose face in the process of confrontation; and in some instances, Christians should avoid criticism. (Mejudhon 2005, 168)
Taken from the work of Dr. Nantachai Mejudhon who summarized Fieg’s work in an article that was published in Sharing Jesus Effectively with the Buddhist World.
Implications for missionaries:
- Be careful about American humor that is sarcastic and would especially hurt feelings
- Be delicate when confronting someone about the errors of Buddhism. Don’t make it a personal attack.
- Confront sin in people that you have a close relationship with – that know without a doubt that you love them.
- Make scripture the basis of confrontation, if needed, not your hurt feelings or personality.
- Be gracious.
- Don’t try to preach like the meanest preacher you know and impress people that aren’t there.
- Love people and help them.
- Confront problems in a group setting, indirectly. Drop hints and let people who want to grow be helped.