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Be a Builder-Upper – Chewed Out?

Employee ReviewKey Bible Verse:  And you know we treated each of you as a father treats his own children.  – 1 Thessalonians 2:11

Bonus Reading:  1 Thessalonians 2:7-12

For six summers Jim Slevcove was my supervisor at Forest Home, a Christian conference center in California.  I held a responsible position over junior high and high school kids, but couldn’t pass up a chance to play a prank.  Like the time I passed off a laxative gum as chewing gum to some coworkers.  Word of the rigorous purgative’s effects got back to Jim.

He asked me to come to his office the next day for “a little chat.”  I was still a little defiant when Jim called me in.  There was a long, awkward silence as he leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling.

Were those tears in his eyes?  Then he whispered “Benny” with tender affection.  “Benny,” he repeated twice while he got control of his emotions.

My arguments disappeared like the vapor they were.  I’d gone way over the line of propriety, not to mention compassion.  I owed and paid Jim and my victims an apology.  We talked about my impulsiveness and vindictiveness, the meaning of Christian community, and the responsibilities that go with leadership.  Even in saying the hard thing to me, Jim was always gracious.  His goal was not to tear down but to build up.

—Ben Patterson in He Has Made Me Glad

My Response:  A person who needs affirmation and grace from me today is …

Thought to Apply:  Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower.—Johann Von Goethe (German poet)

Adapted from He Has Made Me Glad (InterVarsity, 2005)

Prayer for the Week:  Lord, please help me become a motivator of others by the way I affirm, patiently challenge, and encourage them.

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