Partners in Christian Mission
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renata carmichael 2012 (118)

I Maked These - Renata Carmichael

In a webcomic I enjoy, theawkwardyeti.com, there are a few comics which feature Gallbladder as a character. Gallbladder is presented as being like a small child. The first time we see Gallbladder he is approaching Liver, holding a pile of stones. "I maked these". Liver is unimpressed. "You're just supposed to hold what I give you". Gallbladder is left on the verge of tears. In the next comic where we see Gallbladder, he is talking to Kidney. "I haffa get removed, on account of I maked all these stones". "That's outrageous" Kidney remarks, before sneaking off to give the stones that he made to Bladder.

All Gallbladder wanted was some attention and love, but he's the bad guy causing problems for everyone. He did something he thought he should be proud of, and everyone seems to be holding it against him. Not that they're going to tell him why what he did was bad, he's just being thrown out and rejected without really understanding why. In addition, it leaves Kidney feeling insecure about having done the same thing, leading him to try and pass his mistake on for someone else to take the blame for.

How was this allowed to happen?

In the prequel Liver hands Gallbladder a few buckets, saying "here, hold this" with no further instruction. Childlike, simple Gallbladder starts playing with what he was supposed to be holding, using it to create something new. The stones he would show Liver, proudly saying "I maked these".

Gallbladder was given a task, but he was not given adequate instruction or supervision. He was not given attention, no-one bothered to check how he was going. He was just a cog in the system, able to be ignored unless he failed to function correctly. The result of this was that Gallbladder did indeed fail.

I draw this comic to your attention because sometimes we treat people around us the same way. This can cause problems in our lives, in the ministries we are involved in, and in the lives of these "problematic" people.

People need feedback. They need acceptance and attention. Often we can tend to ignore someone's attempts to be recognised, to seek our attention, only to then be angry with them when they've finally done something that does get our attention by causing us problems. This does disservice to everyone involved.

You end up with additional frustration and additional work fixing problems that could have been avoided. Your "problematic person" probably feels bad that they have failed you, even though it's not entirely their fault and they were trying to do what they thought was best. In addition, they have now been labelled as a "problem person" and even if they are never told that it will affect the way you interact with them. Others see what this person has done and may feel the need to cover up mistakes they, unknowingly, made.

Think about who you work with, in ministry, at home, at work, or anywhere else. Think about the ones who annoy you. The ones that cause you problems by doing things wrong. Now try to think about why this is happening. Do they know they are causing problems? Unfortunately sometimes people do that intentionally, but one should be wary of attributing to malice something that can be explained by incompetence. If they don't realize, then what is the cause of the problem? Has the job been properly explained? Have they had some sort of supervision to check how they're doing and give any additional explanations needed? Or have they been left to figure the task out on their own, doing the best they can, hoping to please you and coming up saying "I maked these"?

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