Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. —Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)
I was helping my sister to re-cover her sofa and had underestimated the amount of upholstery fabric we needed — again. The last time, I’d misjudged the fabric for the back cushions by a half yard. I’d telephoned Joan at the fabric store to see if she would check the remnant room. Now I’d run short on the checked fabric I was using for the cording. I only needed a fourth of a yard, but without it her sofa wouldn’t have the look we wanted.
“We just cut the last of that bolt,” Joan said, “but I’m sure there was a good quarter yard left. Let me check for you.” She returned to the phone with good news and offered to put the fabric in the mail so I wouldn’t have to drive to the store. “There’s no charge,” she assured me. “It was such a small amount, they were going to toss it.”
Let her supervisor know what a good employee she has. The thought seemed to come out of nowhere, but it felt like the most important thing in the world — far more crucial than getting the fabric I needed. Yet what difference could a few words possibly make?
“Could I speak with your manager?” I asked confidently.
“Sure,” Joan answered, but there was panic in her voice.
“I just wanted you to know how helpful Joan has been to me.” I told the manager. “She’s an absolute joy.”
I didn’t think much of my comment until I read the note from Joan that was pinned to the fabric when it arrived in the mail. “I can’t thank you enough for the kind words. Work has been tense lately, and a few days ago a customer misunderstood something I said. Your words really smoothed things over for me.”
Show me, Lord, when one of Your children needs a compliment, and help me speak the freeing truth in love.