Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge….. (Pr 19:27).
I have found there are two ways to motivate people. Either through shame and fear or love and encouragement. You see, love wrapped in truth is always helpful to the soul if we are willing to receive it in humility. However, shameful words wrapped in fear will always seek to control and destroy the hearer. The more we use this method, the more we might gain control over people, but the less we will invite people into our lives and gain their trust.
No one will ever be motivated to trust us and grow together with us if our mode of operation is to use fear and shame to motivate them. Those who use this method are truly just insecure people who fear being out of control, so they use unhealthy methods to press you into the little boxes of control they have created for their own lives.
Don’t allow someone to crush you into these boxes. Don’t think that God wants you to just deal with it if the problem is reoccurring and doesn’t seem to be changing. Overlook an offense from time to time, but if the modus operandi is to use fear and shame against you, it’s time to do what’s right and stand up for yourself. It’s time to speak the truth in love back to the one who is using unhealthy ways to keep their fears from becoming a reality.
Sometimes, when we do this, we are met with more control and more unhealthy coping mechanisms. Please, don’t take this personally, but understand that brokenness in others is often something that they’ll hide until their willing to be humble enough to admit their own need for grace. Until this happens, you, the person who called our their behavior has become a problem and problems, are always disposable to people who are protecting their fears. So please, don’t take it personally if they throw you away, but understand that it really stems from an unsubmitted area in their own hearts.
Be reminded that the best motivator for your friends, spouse, children and loved one is not fear and shame. Instead, it is speaking the truth in love, wrapped in encouragement. This type of approach will draw people to you instead of repelling them away from you. It’s the kind of love that draws people into want to change because they see that you aren’t living above them, but with them as they journey through life with Jesus.
Lord, I don’t ever want to use fear and shame to motivate people, but I know that I have. Please forgive me for doing this. I want to be like Jesus. I want to speak hard truths in love. I want to be an encourager. I want to believe in people. Empower me by your Spirit to use healthy ways of motivating people instead of shame and fear, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.