Friday, October 30, 2015

The Sandwich Method

Some of you have followed my exploits of trying to get twice-daily medication in my two dogs. The meds are for chronic conditions and will be needed till the day I die or till they do. Given the stress caused by administering the meds, it's a toss-up as to who will cross the Rainbow Bridge first, them...or me.

Nothing works in disguising the pill for more than a day or two, and they both refuse to let us shove the pill down their throats. Lucky might well bite us and Honeybun would lose her hard-fought trust of us. No. We had to find a gentle method, harmonious to man and beast.

Unable to find a small cannon that I could shoot into her mouth, I canvased friends' ideas. A couple suggested the "sandwich technique." Make 3 balls of something yummy they like, such as cheese. Hide the pills in the second ball. Offer ball 1, quickly follow with ball 2, and then before they know what hit them, offer ball 3. I have done this for 2 days now, and it is working. We will see how long it works. The obvious drawback is the effort and energy it requires. Not to mention increased yummy goody expenses.

Similarly, the sandwich method is recommended for sharing criticism, or areas in need of change. It is a good parenting and teaching technique. Sandwich the hard but necessary criticism between two compliments. Again, it certainly makes the criticism easier to take, but requires a lot of effort and energy that is not always easy to muster.

What did Jesus do? How Jesus confronts sin should be our model.
Matthew 23 is the chapter of Jesus confronting the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. Here is paragraph one: Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Ok. He does offer one tiny morsel of encouragement before he slams them. He does tell them they should be obeyed because they are in authority. He acknowledges their position of authority. But then he slams them. In the succeeding many verses, I looked carefully to see if the criticism would be "sandwiched" with praise. He says: woe to you hypocrites, and expands on that, woe to you blind guides, and expands on that, woe to you snakes, you brood of vipers,and expands on that....At the very end of the chapter, after he has fed them about 40 balls of bitter medicine, He offers the other side of the sandwich.

37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’

Now, on first blush, this doesn't sound like a sweet tasting morsel, easy to swallow, sandwiching all those woe to you scum of the earth statements. But look at what the underlying message is: despite all our sin, Jesus loves us desperately and would do anything to draw us to Him. Then He offers the hope and the promise. A day will come when we will say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We will finally see Him for who He really is. 

Note-- He does not mince words, excuse sin, or rationalize sin. He is clear regarding sin. Truth is clearly conveyed and He doesn't cushion His language so they won't feel judged or have their tender psyches crushed. And He doesn't pretend relationship is possible in the midst of open, willful, prideful sin and rebellion. 

BUT, He does offer love that is heart-breaking, considering that their sin is about to send Him to a horrific death. He offers love in the deepest terms known on earth, that of a mother towards her brood. He would gather us under His wings. It is we who run from Him.

So His "sandwich" looks like this to me: Acknowledgement, confrontation, love and a promise.
I think I could work with that.

James 5:19-20 

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.


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