Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Scare Tactics (Done out of Love?)

In trying to get our kids to do chores, we used to use threats. Don't do the dishes, you'll be grounded. Don't get the laundry done, you'll lose your phone. Sadly, these habits are hard to break, and we sometimes still use them. However, there is one odd way that seems to have made it much easier and less stressful on us in motivating our large group of teenagers (and one pre-teen)...

"We need to work together. More gets done, faster. We get along better. We're all happier and less stressed out."

I don't get it. How can a simple statement (which yes, does need to be restated every other day or so) motivate this group of sometimes-selfish teens into getting things done when "do it or you won't see the light of day until you're 18" doesn't work??? It makes no sense. I mean... is there anyplace else you've seen a message of working together work better than threats and scare tactics?

Oh wait...

I think I might have seen that in the Bible...

In fact, just a few off the top of my head... Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Proverbs 27:17 , 1 Corinthians 12:20-25, Romans 15:5-6, Ephesians 4:16  (Ok, I lied... those weren't off the top of my head. I cheated :)  But, ya get the point).

Time and again we see that we're to work together. As for threats? Telling someone the horrible punishment they'll receive if they don't do something?

There's this little piece in the New Testament... I believe it's in Matthew... Chapter 28... goes by a heading of "The Great Commission".... (although, I'm sure the same situation can be found in many other places as well.)

It amazes me how so many seem to translate this passage to "Go out and tell everyone you meet - 'Believe in Christ now, or you'll burn in eternal hellfire! Bow down in repentance now, or you'll burn in eternal hellfire!'"

In fact, what we have in that passage, as well as others, is that the disciples (that would also be us..) were told to go out and tell anyone who wishes to listen about Christ. We should not stop teaching, but rather let this message reach every nation.

If you've ever participated in a candlelight service, you may recall how each person who wishes to participate lights their candle from the person next to them. I keep my flame steady so the next person can use my flame to light theirs, and so on and so forth. Never once do I take my flame to force the next candle to be lit... or to threaten to light the refusing person on fire. I simply let my light shine so those near me will want to accept that light and go forth to be a light to the next.

This is how it should be with each of us. We should not be threatening others, but rather showing them how working together strengthens and brightens Christ's light in each of us.

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