THE POWER OF POSITIVE CORRECTION! Maria #131 DO2649 5/90
--"Lighten up" & Trust the Lord!--By Maria
(Talk given to Amy about how to handle Techi during a time of tests & battles.)
1. Amy, I heard you're having a little bit of a trial & feeling a bit burned-out from working overtime with Techi & her recent problems. Sara said that she thinks she came close to a nervous breakdown when she was taking care of Mene during the "Last State" time. She eventually got to the point where she just couldn't take it any more! She got so wound up & uptight about it that she just about cracked, & we don't want that to happen to you. After being immersed in them for so long, all of Mene's problems just got to her, & she wasn't really resting in the Lord & casting all her cares & burdens on Him. She was just taking it all upon herself & felt responsible not only for Mene's many problems, but for correcting them all as well.
2. She was taking the weight of the whole thing that was happening with Mene on her own shoulders, which, of course, caused her to get very burdened & uptight about it. It's easy to do that when you're in the middle of something like that & you see all the problems all the time, day in & day out, especially recurring problems. You feel like, "Well, there's not much progress being made here, so what's wrong? What more should I be doing?"
3. I think you just need to try to "lighten up" a little bit! You need to cast your burdens on the Lord & trust Him to take care of things! Another thing that I believe is a real key is something that Techi told me all on her own last night when I was asking her my usual questions about how her day went.
4. In the course of our conversation she said, "Auntie Amy had a talk with me today, & she told me, 'Usually we have to have talks about correction & about your NWOs & different mistakes you've made, but this talk is going to be just about all the progress you've made, all the positive things!'--And it was really encouraging!"
5. So I was thinking about that, & it brought to mind a very important principle: When a person has already asked for prayer for deliverance & prayed for the victory & has started out on the right road & really has a desire to change & do well, but perhaps has a lot of bad habits that keep recurring, encouragement is probably the most important thing you can give them! They already know their problem, the people who are trying to help them know the problem, & because it's a bad habit, it just keeps cropping up again. So I think the best thing that you could do in such a case is to emphasise anything positive that you can find; either from that day or that week or anything recent you can find that's positive. Even if there wasn't anything that day, maybe you could tell them all about how good they did yesterday!
6. That's what I did with Techi the other night. I told her, "Well, Honey, I know you had a bad day today, but you have been making progress. I heard that yesterday & the day before were pretty good days for you. You've been making progress, so of course the Devil wants you to get discouraged & make you feel like it's not worth it & you can't make it! He wants to tell you, 'Look, you've made a big mistake again & you keep making these mistakes!' But instead of listening to that, look on the bright side & think of all the progress you've made!"
7. Maybe you would see more improvement in her behaviour if you emphasised the positive more. Even if there's nothing positive today, even if it's from yesterday or last week or whenever, just tell her, "Look how good you did last week, that shows you really can do it! So I'm expecting to see you do just as good tomorrow, or next week. I know it's rough & you've had a rough time this week & all your bad habits sort of popped up again, but look how good you did last week!"
8. Just emphasise the positive: "Look how good you did in not daydreaming today! I know you had a bad bout of murmuring today, but look how good you did in this & how good you did in that. Since you've made such progress in these areas, I just know we're soon going to see lots of improvement in not murmuring." You can mention the negative, but in a positive way, so that she knows you're aware of it, but put a lot more emphasis on the improvement that's been made. I think that would be real encouraging for her, & might bring some good results.
EXAMPLE OF MAMA'S LETTERS TO JUAN!
9. When I reread my recent Letters to Juan (See ML #s 2620-2622.) I thought, "My goodness, this is sure a lot of encouragement I'm giving him.--I'm really laying it on thick!" But the reason the Lord led me to do that was because there was so much correction & instruction I was giving him as well. He's going through a lot right now & there are a lot of changes he's having to make, so I had to keep pointing those things out. But I surrounded them with lots of encouragement to make it easier for him to take it! The encouragement is almost like the sugar coating on the pill.--There's actually a lot more bitter "medicine" inside than the tiny thin layer of sweet coating outside.
10. But because the bitter taste is so completely surrounded by the sweet, you hardly notice it, & it goes down real well! I point out lots of things that need work on to Juan, but it's enveloped in a lot of commendation for the progress he is making, & a lot of encouragement to him to help him keep progressing. Because there's so much assurance that I know he's going to be able to make it, & that he's going to be able to change, even though it's hard & it hurts, he's almost happy to take it because of all the encouragement he's getting!
11. You sort of don't mind the little pin prick of the doctor's needle if you know you're going to get a lot of good medicine that's going to help you & make you healthy again & cure you of what ails you. Even though having his shortcomings pointed out is still hard to take, when mixed with all that praise, it doesn't hurt so much. It could hurt a lot more!
12. Juan's last report to me was so cute! After receiving those Letters that I sent him, he said, "I was reading what you said to Abi & Dust, 'I'm sure Juan will appreciate it if you tell him when he makes mistakes,' or 'I'm sure Juan will like it if you correct him on such-&-such.'" He said, "I thought to myself, 'Do I really like it? Do I really appreciate it when they correct me?--Well, of course I do, because Mama says I do!'"--Ha!
13. Juan really does feel that way, that if I think he should appreciate something, he will appreciate it! If I think he should like it, well, he'll like it. He believes what I say is right because he trusts the Lord in me; he does what I suggest because he loves the Lord in me & wants to please the Lord. That's the way we all should be with the Lord. Most of us haven't attained yet, but it's a goal worth striving for!
14. If people already know what their problem is & they're trying to do the best they can to overcome it, one of the most important things you can do is to encourage them. A little praise & encouragement can go a long way! There's not really much more you or they can do about it. It's in the Lord's hands, & it's up to Him to do the miracle. The most important thing for them to do is keep praying & fighting the Enemy.
15. The most important thing for you to do is keep praying & encouraging them & pointing them to the Word. As far as giving them a big talk about their problem every time it crops up, that just really discourages them, because they already know they have the problem & they know it's a bad habit & they're struggling to overcome it. They probably feel it's a victory if even one time out of a hundred they do good & don't succumb to it.
16. So that just hit me after Techi told me that story about the talk you had with her. I thought "Well, I think that's the key, I think Amy hit it!" But it's got to be done consistently & with a lot of encouragement. The amount of encouragement I've given Juan in those Letters was so much that some people might have even been tempted to be a little critical of it! But I think most people aren't used to giving or getting so much praise & encouragement, & haven't realised the good fruits of it.
17. Why harp on people's problems any more than you have to? Granted, you can't ignore things, you've got to at least mention them, just like I did with Juan. Poor Juan, I probably mentioned all his NWOs, past, present & future, in one place or another in those two Letters.
18. But at the same time I encouraged him about all the progress he's made & all the changes he's made already, & I definitely know from what he said & from what Abi & Dust have said, that that meant a whole lot to Juan. Considering the intensity of the battles, he might not have been able to pull through it so quickly & be such a help to others if he hadn't received all that encouragement. So the Lord knows best, & I just really felt led to give him a lot of encouragement & to try to minimise the negative & emphasise the positive.
19. I tried to be very gentle with him. And I think everyone now realises that it was the right way to go about it, even though at first some people may have thought I was being too easy on Juan. But I just didn't feel led to be too blunt, I didn't feel that I should, & I think it's really paid off now. Juan has said that it has, that the way I handled him & helped him to receive things was exactly what he needed to keep him from being overwhelmed by the floods of defeat, discouragement & failure that threatened to engulf him.
20. I believe that you just never lose by emphasising & majoring on the positive & by giving praise & commendation & encouragement! I think people are going to want to do better when they see how much faith you have in them & how sure you are that they can make it. If you're going to encourage them that much, they figure they must be doing good.--And they'll want to keep doing good because they want to receive more encouragement & more praise!
ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEM, BUT SURROUND IT WITH ENCOURAGEMENT!
21. So that just spoke to me when Techi told me about your talk with her! I know you told me about it earlier, but when she told me about it in such an inspired way, & was so encouraged by it, it suddenly struck me: "That's the key, & that's what we need to do more of! Rather than every time she fails thinking, 'Oh no, she's back to her old tricks again,' why not think, 'She had a setback in this area, & she must be discouraged about it. How can I encourage her?'" That's what I'm trying to do with her when we're together in the evenings.
22. Of course, I do understand that you're faced with her NWOs all day long, & I'm not. But regardless, I think that's the best way for you to handle her as well. I just try to say, "Honey, I guess you've had some bad days & even some really bad days; but thank the Lord, you have some good days too.--And as time goes on you'll start having more good days than bad days! You just have to keep fighting & keep working on it & don't give up & don't get discouraged! I'm not!--I know you're going to make it."
23. Just approach it matter-of-factly: "We all have our problems & you're going through yours now, through a hard testing time. But you'll win in the end, & for now, you just have to keep fighting!" I'm not saying that you should so minimise the problem that you dismiss it entirely, but just try to address it & take it matter-of-factly, "Yes, it is a problem, but..."--Just like I did in a message I sent to one of our leaders recently.
24. Because he didn't get to attend the Summit Meeting, he made a tape of all his heretofore unconfessed sins & NWOs. He said, "I know I have a lot of bad weaknesses." So I sent him a little return message that said, "After hearing that beautiful honest confession & realising how you really want to change, I think you're certainly worth the investment of the Lord's & ours & your other leadership's time. I know it's true that you do have a lot of serious NWOs, but I know with the Lord's help you can change, & you can even change quickly if you're yielded & if you really want to!"
25. In other words, I didn't have to dismiss the fact that he did have some problems, but I surrounded it with a lot of encouragement. I just sort of stated it matter-of-factly, "Well, yes, you've got a lot of bad problems, I understand that. But I know the Lord's going to help you & I know you can make it!--And I know you're worth the investment, so don't let anyone steal your crown! Keep fighting the good fight of faith!" You can acknowledge the problem, but encourage them to keep going, that they're going to win in the end. PTL! (It gives'm faith!--D.)
BREAKING BAD HABITS!
26. I think this is something we need to really reflect on: We need to learn to help people with their problems in a more positive & encouraging way. I know when somebody does something wrong, especially if they do it over & over & over, your natural reaction is to want to keep telling them over & over & over, "Look, you've done it again! You just can't do this any more!" But I think it would be better to just mention it, so they know you know, & then give them the Word on it & whatever help you can. But just be matter of fact about it: "Breaking any habit is difficult, & it's discouraging when you seem to keep doing the same things over & over. But don't give up!--It'll get easier as you keep working on it!"
27. Let's face it, habits really are hard to break! As I told Techi, I had a very difficult time trying to break my habit of arguing with Dad. I'd gotten into such a terrible habit that I used to argue almost automatically about everything, & it took me a long time to break it. I've always been rather argumentative, even when I was little.--I guess Techi gets that from me!
28. And with a bad habit like that, you can easily get so frustrated & discouraged that you just feel like giving up. Maybe only one time in a hundred you'll do good, but then all the other times you just mess up again, because the habit is so ingrained in you. To do the wrong thing is almost automatic.
29. Take Techi's daydreaming, for example; she just does it automatically now. It usually takes us a long time to stop things that are habits like that, & when you stumble & fall, you feel terrible. Like she told me the other night, "I had just gotten a talk on honesty, & then I went & lied to Auntie Amy!--Oh, I felt so bad!" I don't know if she expresses to you how bad she feels when she slips like that, but she expresses it to me when we meet together in our little evening report times.
30. But I think this encouragement business is really worth our investing a little more in it. Like I say, you've got to have a good balance; you can't just overlook their problems entirely. If they need discipline, you have to give them some discipline. But you shouldn't just express displeasure or act like it bothers you & annoys you & let it get you upset & uptight. Just take it matter-of-factly: "That's one of those things you're not allowed to do, so here's what happens as a result," or if punishment is not needed, "Here's the Word you need to read on it.--Sorry you failed again, but there's light at the end of the tunnel! Just keep asking Jesus to help you, keep quoting the Word, keep fighting the Enemy, & you'll find that soon you'll be doing better!"
31. Sort of sympathise with her instead of getting all uptight & upset. Just say, "I'm sorry, Techi. I know you must feel bad about blowing it again, but don't worry, you'll do better next time. Let's memorise this good quote to help you." Or, if it's something that requires discipline, just say, "I'm sorry to have to do this or deprive you of this, but you'll do better as time goes on, so please don't worry about it. Take your punishment cheerfully & don't murmur about it & try to get as much out of it as you can. Soon you'll be making fewer & fewer mistakes & more & more doing the right thing."
32. Tell her, "Don't take it too hard; it's just one of the things that happens when you're trying to break old habits. At the beginning you'll fail more than you'll succeed.--But the Lord uses it all to strengthen you. So each time you slip & fall, you're getting an opportunity to be strengthened & to do the right thing next time. All this good Word on it will give you the strength to do better next time. The Word's not a punishment, it's a reward!--It's God in His Love talking to you! His correction is also His Love, because He wants you to be happy, & He knows that when you get the victory over this, you will be very happy!"
LET THE WORD OR THE PUNISHMENT DO THE TALKING FOR YOU!
33. Just try to be as encouraging as possible & don't emphasise the negative. Ask the Lord to help you to be matter-of-fact about recurring problems, & don't worry about things. Even if Techi should spout off some seemingly horrific statement like, "I had another doubt: I guess God's dead & Jesus is dead & Grandpa's lying in the MO Letters," just say, "Honey, you know that's not true because of this & this & this." (And give her the reasons.) "Let's pray together & rebuke the Devil, & then just refuse to entertain that thought when it comes knocking on the door of your mind."
34. Don't react with wide-eyed surprise or horror & say, "Ohhhh!--What a terrible thing! How could you possibly say that, Techi?!" If it was the first time something like that came up, maybe to express a little surprise (but not condemnation) would be okay, but if it's a recurring problem, something she's already had counsel about & she already knows what to do about it, all you have to do is remind her not to give place to those thoughts & how to resist them. Give her more Word, & of course, lots of prayer.
35. Just sweetly & calmly tell her, "You don't really mean that! You might even think you do, but those are just the Enemy's lies being voiced through you. But that's not really what you believe, because usually you don't even think those things. The Enemy is just using your mouth to voice those lies. I know you don't really mean them."
36. Of course, she might argue with you, but you can say, "I know you don't mean those things, so let's just pray & tell Jesus you don't want any thoughts that aren't of Him. Don't worry, Honey!--The Devil can't win as long as we keep fighting!"
37. Just be matter-of-fact about it. I wouldn't get too worried about it. Why should you worry about it? You can't really do anything about it anyway; the Lord's got to do it! So the best thing to do is just pray & be positive & give lots of encouragement where you can, & just give instruction & the Word where she needs it.
38. But you don't have to try to do it yourself. Just let prayer & the Word do it! Even if you have to give an ultimatum or enforce a serious disciplinary measure, you can still let Love be your guide. The discipline will speak for you.
39. An example that illustrates this principle comes to mind of an incident that took place in one of our WS Units some time ago: We had to relieve someone of their position in the Unit due to their longstanding problem with causing friction & hurt feelings amongst the rest of the Home. Despite many talks & prayers & opportunities to change, she never quite got the victory. But the leader who was assigned to let her know about her dismissal, sternly lectured her about her long history of recurring problems & all the trouble she had caused the Work.
40. I thought about it afterwards, that actually, that hadn't even been necessary; he wouldn't have had to do anything but sit down & put his arm around her & say, "Sweetheart, we really love you & we thank you for the good work you've done here, but, as you know, there have been some recurring problems & it just doesn't seem you're able to get the victory here or work so well with the people here. So we thought maybe you'd do better somewhere else, so we're going to have to have you transferred to another Home or office."
41. He could have just stroked her hair & put his arm around her. Why would he need to get uptight at her? Why would he need to raise his voice? He didn't need to get upset or harsh or even frown at her, because the penalty was bad enough. It did the speaking; he hardly had to say anything else. That was all that was needed. She could hardly bear that, so to have anything else thrown on top of it just wasn't necessary. The penalty was devastating enough.
42. Nothing else was necessary. The ultimatum said it all. So when you talk with Techi after she's done something wrong, either the punishment will speak to her, or the Word that you have her read will speak to her. You really don't have to do too much. You don't have to get upset or frown. You can even smile & be sweet & speak softly.
43. I'm not saying you should never look stern or raise your voice, but I think on the whole, you should just be as sweet & as nice as possible. Don't be distant or cool; be warm & just the way you usually are. If she deserves a punishment you can say, "Honey, I'm sorry, but I guess you'll have to accept this discipline now." You can even apologise & say, "I'm sorry, I wish you didn't have to, but these are the rules we laid down & we hope this will help you to remember next time."
44. If she expresses some doubts about the Lord & the Word, just say, "I'm sorry to hear you say that, but that's just the Enemy talking to you. Let's pray together & rebuke the confusion, & if you read this Word I think it'll make things clear & will help you to see the truth."--You don't have to act shocked or excited or upset or angry or worried or anything really, because you can just let the prayer & the Word do the correcting.
45. And if it's something that she needs punishment for, you can let the punishment do the speaking. Those things will speak much more effectively than your getting upset or raising your voice. You don't really need to do that since you have these other things to do the speaking for you.
46. So I think we could try that & see if that works better, putting more of an emphasis on the positive, OK? Maybe we all need to think more about that, especially parents & Shepherds & childcare helpers etc. Even with adults, I think we need to consciously try to put more emphasis on encouragement & the positive, & see how it works.
47. Lord, bless Amy & help her & strengthen her & help her to cast all her care on You, Lord. Help her to "cast her burden on You, & You will sustain her."--Psa.55:22. You said in that verse that You'll "never suffer the righteous to be moved." That infers that we don't ever have to get all upset or uptight or frazzled or torn apart or anything, but we can be steady & confident in You, having faith & trust & Your peace. So help us not to be moved when these battles happen, but to just let You be the Solution, Lord, & let You take care of the problems that come up. Thank You, Lord, that we don't have to try to work things out ourselves, in our own strength.
48. Certainly You can do the work, Lord, & we can remain calm & quiet & peaceful & just let You love & encourage them through us, & even discipline them, Lord, which is a part of love. So help Amy, Lord, encourage & strengthen her & give her grace & peace & wisdom & real dependency on You for the answers, in Jesus' name. TYL! Give her a good night's rest tonight & good sweet peaceful sleep & good dreams & a real fruitful day tomorrow, Lord, & real wisdom & inspiration with Techi, in Jesus' name. TYL!
STEPPING BACK HELPS GIVE A TRUER PICTURE!
(Later, on the intercom with Peter:)
49. I realise that it's different when you're right there with somebody every minute, constantly aware of their problems that you're trying to help them with. It's easier for someone who only knows a little about the situation & is more or less looking in on it from the outside, to say, "Oh, that's all right, it's not that bad." Some might argue that the person who is not intricately involved doesn't know the "whole story" & so has a somewhat distorted picture.
50. But actually, when you think about it, the more distorted view could very well be the one that's there on the inside, continually looking at the problems every second! The more objective & correct view is probably the one looking on it from the outside, because they're not so apt to get their own emotions & feelings so involved to where they can't see things clearly.
51. It's probably better to look at problems from more of a detached viewpoint sometimes, to try to step back & look at it from a different perspective.--Or have somebody else look at it that way for you, because it's usually easier to see the true picture, the overall picture from a little distance. You could say, "Well, they don't really know the situation because look they're not here & they're not in it all the time like I am!" But on the other hand, I think in some ways it's easier to see the true picture & the correct picture from a little bit of a distance, because you then can see the overall.
ENCOURAGEMENT IS THE KEY!
52. I don't really know exactly how Amy's been handling things, but I just get the feeling that she feels quite personally responsible for every little tiny thing that happens, so she gives Techi a big lecture every time the slightest thing comes up. Whereas when Techi comes in at night & we have our little report time together, I just try to give her a lot of encouragement, & not get overly upset with anything that she says. People who are working on their weaknesses really need encouragement because it's so hard to break habits, & you usually stumble so much.
53. Last night Techi was all inspired when she told me, "Auntie Amy had this talk with me where she said, 'We've talked about all your problems & NWOs, but now, why don't we just sit down & have a talk about all the good things & how the Lord's used these things to help you & how you're progressing!'" She said, "Oh, Mommy, it was so encouraging!"
54. All of a sudden it struck me while she told me this that that kind of talk ought to be the rule instead of the exception, & that's the kind of talk she should get every day, & we should just minimise the negative. Because, as has happened in Techi's case, the problem's already out in the open, everybody knows about it, she's already prayed & asked for the Lord's help, & she obviously wants the help & obviously is trying to do the right thing & is very discouraged when she fails. It's just that she has real bad habits that keep cropping up all the time.
55. The best thing you can do is to encourage people to keep going in the right direction. Give them encouragement as the incentive they need. It doesn't really matter if you're not lecturing them each time on all the details of what they're doing wrong. They've already heard that many times before. They may not even understand everything you're trying to point out to them yet, but you've got to inspire them to keep going in the right direction first, & then they'll begin to better understand what you have to tell them.
56. I'm sure that one reason we're having these different problems with Techi is so the rest of the Family can see what to do to help people who are having similar battles. They're normal problems, it's not anything new. To Amy, some of these trials seem almost catastrophic, but I think that almost all of our kids probably have the same or similar problems at one time or another! So I think there's a lot to be said for trying to be positive & minimising the negative.
57. I'm not saying you should be so concerned about not wanting to discourage the person who is manifesting recurrent problems that are being worked on that you avoid or overlook them altogether. You need to mention them, but you should ask yourself, "What can I find positive about this situation?", & then emphasise that positive. There must be something positive! If there isn't anything positive about that day, maybe there was something positive about yesterday. Emphasise whatever you can find that's positive, with just some slight mention of the negative, just to let them know that you're aware of it & you love them anyway.
BEING ON THE "HOT SEAT"!
58. I don't think we need to emphasise or harp on the negative at all! If you've been working with them on their problem for awhile, they probably already know practically everything there is to know about their problem, so they're just discouraged about it when they slip & fall back into it. When you're on the "hot seat," so to speak, it may seem like everybody's pointing their finger at you & that anytime you come around, everybody's first thought is, "Oh, how are they doing?" or "Are they really going to be able to change?"
59. You're already feeling bad enough that you have all these problems & you're already thinking about them a lot & trying to get over them.--And then when you think everybody else is thinking about them too, every time you come around, it can be a pretty heavy burden on you!
60. So I think the key to most situations is to just lighten up & at least try not to emphasise the problems & the negative so much. It's not that you don't want to admit that it's there or bring it out, but if it's already been brought out in the open, they probably just need prayer, encouragement & the Word.--Especially when you know they really want the victory & are trying to overcome their weaknesses. Sometimes it's better just to say nothing, or at least just say something matter-of-factly in passing that doesn't call such humiliating attention to it.--Amen? PTL!
+ + +
61. "All things, whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."--Mt.7:12. This is the Lord's Own "Golden Rule" of how we should lovingly help & encourage others.--"Bear ye one another's burdens, & so fulfil the Law of Christ!"--Gal.6:2.
62. "For the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves."--2Tim.2:24,25.
63. "But the wisdom that is from Above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, & easy to be entreated (willing to yield to reason), full of mercy & good fruits, without partiality, & without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."--Jam.3:17,18.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family