I recently heard a story about a famous woman. She was in a restaurant having dinner with some friends when a server spilled some spaghetti on her dress. She was distraught.
Beyond distraught actually. She shoved the server and became so belligerent, she was asked to leave. Later, the server sued this woman and won hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And here’s the thing- her zealous reaction didn’t “un-spill” the spaghetti from her dress!
In the end she had a stained dress, a ruined reputation, and was out hundreds of thousands of dollars.
While it’s easy for me to shake my head, I dare not. I’ll be honest, I can be the queen of wanting to react. I haven’t ever shoved anyone but I sure have whispered under my breath. Let me loose on something unfair, unjust, or just plain rude and I can sure find some fight in me. Add to that a rush of adrenalin and somebody better be hoping I’ve read my Bible that day!
Only God can rein in my natural flesh reactions.
Maybe 3 people can relate. Maybe more. Either way, it’s tough to rein ourselves in sometimes.
And that’s precisely why I’ve devised a series of questions to mentally ask myself when I feel a reaction coming on. There’s a big difference between being a reactor and a responder.
Question: Do I want to escalate this issue or dissipate it?
A reactor escalates the conflict.
A responder dissipates the conflict.
A reactor either spews emotion or masters the silent treatment.
A responder gives the gentle answer.
Question: Do I want this issue to haunt me or help find a resolution?
A reactor only sees things her way.
A responder realizes there’s always two sides to every issue.
Question: Which do I care more about- demanding my rights or displaying right choices?
A reactor demands her right to be right.
A responder is more concerned about making right choices before God.
If you struggle with being a reactor, I understand. I’m not saying becoming a responder is easy or that it can happen overnight. But it is possible to make progress.
It really is possible.
Which of these reactor responses do you struggle with? What kind of progress can you make today? What are some of your favorite Bible verses on being gentle?
I’m really interested in what you have to say. And if you take time to leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win one of three $25 restaurant gift cards. But maybe it shouldn’t be a restaurant that serves spaghetti. I’m just sayin’. Smiles.