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March 12, 2010

Chapter-a-Day 2 Kings 25

The carrot and the stick. But then, afraid of what the Babylonians would do, they all took off for Egypt, leaders and people, small and great. 2 Kings 25:26 (MSG)

In my daily vocation I spend a lot of time and energy helping companies and their individual employees measure and improve the quality of the customer service they deliver in daily interactions with customers. It's been an interesting lesson in human nature. I always approach my role as coach and encourager. If a person is open and willing to change, then the process is generally a lot of fun. It's a win-win-win for client, customer, and coach. There are, however, always those who stalwartly fight the process. A few people will always refuse to change, build up anger, and spread a contagious bad attitude.

One of the things that I've learned in years on the job is that encouragement and positive reinforcement only work to change behavior with a certain segment of the population. There are some who will only change if and when they feel the fear or consequences of negative reinforcement. Sad, but true.

Isn't it interesting that a considerable amount of God's message is dedicated to warning that there are negative consequences to our unchecked poor choices and bad behavior? I would love it if God could get away with simply spouting encouraging platitudes and inspirational epithets. No matter how much we want positive change to be motivated simply by dangling a carrot in front of us, the truth is that some will only respond to a swift stick on the backside.

God's message to us, and His work in our lives, is a mixture of both.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and bthomso


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The city was under siege for nineteen months

What a long, terrible time for the people there. While they slowly starved due to lack of food they were constantly surrounded and finally after time the city was destroyed. For people who lived there a long time this must have been a very sad time. Seeing your city and temple destroyed had to be a scary time. We just laid my wife's grandmother to rest last week and memories and history are front of mind right now. It's one thing to lose something...it's another to have it ripped away.

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