Behaving Badly

It was my first day of work at Eagle TV in Mongolia. I had just been installed as the new Managing Director. I was managing a team of 80 people producing daily television programs on Mongolia’s first independent TV channel. Part of my first day was for my assistant manager to give me a briefing on station operations and how things worked. There was one thing she warned me about in particular. “Whenever you leave your office,” she said, “always lock the door. Even if you’re just going down the hall or to the bathroom, lock the door.”

This sounded strange to me. I had already noticed that people locked their doors whenever they went out of their offices. Even if they were walking across the hall to another office, they always locked theirs. “Why do we need to lock our offices if we walk out?” I asked.

“Because if you don’t, someone may come in and steal your phone, or computer, or other things.”

I was dumbstruck. “Seriously?” She nodded her head.

Within a few months the TV station had to be shut down. Eighteen months later we were back on the air, in new facilities, and we had rehired almost all of our former staff. As we prepared to re-launch our operations I established a new policy. “We will have an open door policy from now on. If you leave your office, leave the door open. No one locks their office until the end of the day.”

“Tom,” my assistant warned me, “if you do that then people will steal things.”

My response sounded simplistic to her. “If we treat people like thieves they will act like thieves.”

Can you guess what happened? Theft of personal items dropped to almost zero. 

If you treat people badly they will behave badly. Treat people well and they will rise to the challenge.

How Did Jesus Treat Sinners?

It’s not like Jesus didn’t know the true nature of people. People are sinners. It is in our nature to live in rebellion against God and even other people. I find it interesting that Jesus entrusted Judas with the ministry moneybag even though he knew he was a thief (John 12:6). Was Jesus being irresponsible? I don’t think so. I think he was giving Judas a chance to become a better man (though Judas failed). 

Here’s another quirky thing about Jesus, he trusted Peter with a sword (John 18:10). Did you ever think about that? Peter was a hothead. Would you give a loaded gun to a hothead? Of course, Jesus did this so that scripture would be fulfilled (Luke 22:37).

Here’s one more, Jesus trusted the whole group of them with the Gospel. It’s not like they were a shining example of godly preachers. 

Why did Jesus do these things? Because no sinner can come to grips with his sin until he sees his failures, and even sees a different way to live. There are always some who will not rise to the challenge. But by being encouraged and treated well, as Jesus did to his disciples, great things can happen.

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