Reaction vs. Response

I can't quite remember when/where I read it, but the other day I was reading something on a blog about a mom choosing to (or at least making an attempt to or at least recognizing the importance to make an attempt to) respond to things that her kids do rather than simply react to them.

By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back,
        but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
(Proverbs 14:3 ESV)

I've been reflecting on the idea of choosing to respond to things rather than react ever since reading it.

    A soft answer turns away wrath,
        but a harsh word stirs up anger.
    The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
        but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
(Proverbs 15:1-2 ESV)

I'm currently wandering through Proverbs with the #SheReadsTruth gang. 

I've noticed a lot of things in the book as I've read it and it has made me want more wisdom and less silliness in my heart.

    The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
        but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
(Proverbs 15:28 ESV)

Wisdom calls out.

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
        in the markets she raises her voice;
    at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
        at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
    “. . . If you turn at my reproof,
    behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
        I will make my words known to you.
(Proverbs 1:20, 21, 23 ESV)

It's everywhere throughout the book. She is calling out.

Folly does too though. She's an easy trap.

    So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
        from the adulteress with her smooth words,
    who forsakes the companion of her youth
        and forgets the covenant of her God;
    for her house sinks down to death,
        and her paths to the departed;
    none who go to her come back,
        nor do they regain the paths of life.
(Proverbs 2:16-19 ESV)

As I've been reflecting on the idea of response rather than reaction, I've correlated it back to the idea in Proverbs of wisdom versus folly.

See, folly is not encouraged. She's silly and quick, stupid and easy. 

    If one gives an answer before he hears,
        it is his folly and shame.
(Proverbs 18:13 ESV)

The call for the wise is not to also have folly



The call for the wise is to get wisdom, and get insight, and get understanding.

    For the LORD gives wisdom;
        from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
    he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
        he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
    guarding the paths of justice
        and watching over the way of his saints.
    Then you will understand righteousness and justice
        and equity, every good path;
    for wisdom will come into your heart,
        and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
    discretion will watch over you,
        understanding will guard you,
(Proverbs 2:6-11 ESV)

I could probably post all of Proverbs in this post. It's filled with good words and I'm really enjoying parking my soul there these past couple weeks.

Wisdom is slower to speak, desiring discipline and reproof, contemplating and offering insight and understanding.

    Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
        and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
(Proverbs 17:27 ESV)

I've been slowly (, painfully, failing often type of) attempting to be slow to speak.

I love sarcasm and being the first to speak.

I want to be first.

Scripture doesn't call me to that. So I'm giving my words and reactions and responses to Jesus so that He can be the first.

    One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
        but a fool is reckless and careless.
(Proverbs 14:16 ESV)

I do this thing now, where I try* to take a breathe of Jesus before I speak.

    Be not wise in your own eyes;
        fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
    It will be healing to your flesh
        and refreshment to your bones.
(Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV)

*emphasis on try. I need Jesus to increase so that I can even attempt to speak first of Him.

I want to glorify Him with every word that comes out of my mouth. I don't want to have to stand before Him trying to defend the words I chose to say. 

I want Christ to look at my words, actions, and thoughts and see His name woven throughout each one of them.


    Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
        and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
(Proverbs 16:32 ESV)


Things come up everyday.

When someone swerves into my lane, I can react and be frustrated, or I can respond with grace maybe they're having a bad day. They're probably in a hurry.

In that moment I can make the choice to grant them God's peace by praying safety over them or I can sit in my grumpy heart and send death glares via their rear view mirror.

When I'm in line for coffee, I can choose - and I'll admit, this isn't my first reaction -  to pray for each person in front of me as they order and I wait as opposed to checking my facebook, tweeting, or just sitting in impatience.

I could probably list a thousand opportunities for me to succeed or fail in this.

How do I respond/react when a friend tells me that something is only my opinion?
How do I respond/react when I don't even get an interview for a job I really wanted, prayed I would get, and was qualified for?
How do I respond/react when my plans don't happen the way I wanted them to?

 

I want to live rules by wisdom that comes from Christ. 
I want all glory to go to Him.
I want Him to be my first thought anytime anything comes up.

    Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.
   
(Matthew 26:36-46 ESV)


How do you respond and react to the things in your life?
Any tips on how to live in such a way that demonstrates Christ?