How to Rub People the Right Way
Dr. James Merritt
INTRODUCTION1. Many years ago during the Colonial era of this country, wealthy ladies were proud of their wide-board oak floors. At least once a week servants would wet-rub and then dry-rub these floors to make them shiny. It was a very simple task involving running a wet mop along the grain of the wood and then a dry mop.
2. But sometimes a careless worker would mop across the grain and it would produce streaks on the floor. When that happened the lady of the house would scold the servant for "rubbing the floor the wrong way." That is where we get our phrase "to rub someone the wrong way."
3. Well, I want to tell you how to rub people the right way, and there is one surefire, fail-safe, foolproof, guaranteed way to rub someone the right way. It works any time, any place, on practically anybody, and the way to do it is by encouragement.
4. There is something you need, I need, we all need, and that is encouragement. Human nature is so quick to tear down rather than to build up. For every word of encouragement we probably hear ten words of discouragement.
5. I remember a man who used to be in this church. He was a member here for probably close to ten or eleven years. Not long before he left this church he wrote me, without question, the nastiest, most vicious, mean-spirited letter I have ever received in my entire ministry. As I thought back on that letter, it hit me that in the ten or eleven years he was in this church, the only time he went out of his way to really say anything to me of importance, it was in that negative letter. Not one time did he ever utter a word of encouragement.
6. Far too often we are guilty of taking the time to discourage someone, but never taking the time to encourage someone. I love the old saying, "Write your criticisms in dust, your compliments in marble." But so often we do just the opposite. As the old couplet says:
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