During the last week God has been dealing with me in several areas. As I was getting ready to go with a friend for lunch my husband called and we talked for a few minutes. The conversation didn’t go the way I had it planned.
After hanging up I began to think about what He said and then suddenly out of the clear blue sky came this thought, “it’s not what is being said to you that matters as much as how you react to what is being said to you.”
I had to think about that for a few minutes. It’s not what is being said to you that matters as much as how you react to what is being said.
Now stay with me. It does matter what he says; what he says is important. When people talk to us what they say should matter to us, but it’s just as important to be concerned about how you react to those things that are being said.
How we respond to someone plays a key role in the conversation or the argument we have with them. If I allow my feelings to come into play and I react in a negative manner that is just going to escalate the situation. If I can control how I react to what is being said then it can ease the situation and we can in a more positive attitude discuss what is going on.
I have been known to react to what is being said and how it is being said to me. Sometimes I don’t even listen to the whole thing before I begin to put up my defenses and begin to react.
I am learning and God is teaching me it’s time to stop reacting to what is being said and to take a more positive attitude toward listening to what is being said. He is teaching me there are times to respond and there are times that I need to let go of what is being said. I need not respond to what is being said.
As I was thinking about this God gave me as an example His Son. There were many times the Pharisees said things to Jesus that was not becoming. There were things said to Him to try and provoke Him. If He had reacted to some of those things being said the circumstances and the way we look at Him might have been different. He did not react to those things being said. Instead He often responded in a respectful manner, often telling a story, but never raising His voice or letting Himself get out of control. How would it look for if we responded to those things being said to us in the same way? How would the situation change for us if we responded in a more respectful way instead of letting our emotions take over?
While Jesus was on the cross we know the soldiers were taunting Him. They were saying many things to Him that were not nice. I believe maybe once again they were trying to provoke Him. Yet, while dying on the cross He did not react in a negative manner.
Now as I say that I am also thinking there are times we do need to react to what is being said to us, but in a manner that will not harm one another. If we are being physically or mentally abused then I think it is proper to react in such a way that we remove ourselves from the situation as quickly as we can. How you react in this situation is just as important as what is being said. You should react in such a way that the other person knows you will not tolerate what is being said or being done.
God is teaching me there is a fine balance between standing up for yourself and what is wrong and allowing the situation to escalate because you allowed your emotions to take over.
Back to Jesus as an example; we know when He was in the Temple He became angry and turned over the tables and kicked the money changes out of the temple. He was standing up for what He believed in. He was also reacting to the wrong that was being done in the temple. If we see wrong is being done, if we need to stand up for ourselves or someone else then it is a positive thing to react in such a way that lets people know we aren’t happy.
Our reactions to situations can make things better or they can make things worse. What we need to do is ask for discernment on when to speak up and when to respond in a positive way instead of a negative way. Jesus showed us both examples.
A few weeks ago I was learning a new system at the organization where I volunteer. The Director at the end of the day wanted to check my work. I had missed a step on each one of the interviews I had done. She asked me to stay over, sit with her and correct my mistakes so I could learn from them. Even though I was at fault I could have built up my defenses, became angry and responded in a negative way. Instead God worked through me and allowed me to remain calm and I was able to do what I needed to do in a very positive manner. The same thing had happened earlier in the day with one of the other Advisors and the Director. It did not end well with the Advisor getting upset and leaving early.
Once again I believe it’s how we respond to a situation that determines whether Christ is living in us. I believe God tells us it’s okay to become angry; its okay not to like what is being said to us, but it is also important how we respond and we must respond in a positive way.
The next time someone says something to me will I always respond in a positive way? I’d like to think so, but I am human. I have emotions and feelings and there will be times I will react in a negative manner, but it’s okay because God knows me and He still loves me.
Jesus gave us many examples of how we should respond in different situations. He gave us parables about how to react to things in various situations. We should follow His example and react when it is necessary and those times it’s not necessary we should follow Jesus example and respond in a positive way.
Dear Lord: Thank you for giving me examples to live by. Help me as I respond in different situations. Teach me to listen and to respond in a positive way when necessary. When I need to react in a manner much like you did in the Temple give me the courage to do so. Thank you for loving me and for caring for me. Amen