Reinforcement is important in most areas of life. Whether it be a dog trainer or a manager at the local supermarket, the practice of reinforcement is something that must be exercised either in a positive or a negative manner. A groundbreaking study has recently been completed which involves dogs and juvenile delinquents. These teens were rough. They had been in and out of jail, mixed up with drugs, involved in gangs and had no positive future in their horizon. The study focused on the human-animal interaction and its outcome on the participant’s social, emotional and empathetic capacities. This article will give us an opportunity to consider the importance of reinforcement within the local congregation. Is positive reinforcement the best approach? Is negative reinforcement the best approach? Should there be a balance between the positive and the negative as we try to help our brother or sister in the Lord? We will be looking to the Bible for answers regarding the proper approach to dealing with difficult situations in the lives of fellow Christians.
Photo by Zenia