“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” Proverbs 15:28
Yesterday, as I was enjoying lunch with a friend, we were discussing an e-mail that my friend had received and that needed to be addressed immediately. As my friend hurried back to work, I blurted out without thinking “Remember - respond instead of react”. I was surprised that I had given that exhortation to my friend. I decided I would research the differences between reacting vs. responding and below is good information from the site that I found entitled, ThinDifference.com – A Mindful Difference.
“React in action. When people react, it seems to be defensive. We seem to be at a disadvantage. We are uncomfortable with what is being said or done, and we react. In our reactions, our emotions take a central role. The hair on our neck stands on end. We feel our stomach turn. Our face heats up and our defenses are on red alert. We know reactions when we see it. There is a downside to reacting. We let emotions without reason drive us forward. We lose control. Reacting is sporadic and emotional. The upside may be passion, but our passion needs to be centered on purpose, not an unexpected, unproductive stimulus.”
“Respond in action. On the flip side is respond. There is still an external spur to our response. Responding, though, is more thoughtful. Responses contain reasoning. The difference may be this: Responding is guided less by emotion and more by logic. Responding may be passive in nature, as we are going second in a series. However, a response is more active, and it can change the direction of an interaction. The upside of a solid response is an engaging conversation, all positive and all civil. We learn. We grow. We listen. We respond. We act forthrightly and from within.”
I love that God has given us the Bible, a manual on how to live life skillfully. The Bible says that the righteous (those who have humbled themselves and received Christ as their Lord and Savior), carefully plan their words before they pour out their thoughts.
FATHER, let our conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:6). Thank you for all the times you have forgiven us when we blurted out impulsive and hurtful words towards others – even when we felt it was justified. Thank you for the Word of God and the wisdom that you give us as we turn to your Word for instruction. Thank you that we can always turn to you for forgiveness. We love You and in Jesus Name we pray – Amen.