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  • Writer's pictureHigher Expectations Church

Don’t React…Respond

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

One Saturday evening I was watching a professional boxing match. Before the match started, the commentators kept mentioning how they expected this contest to “go the distance”, twelve rounds. The two contenders were evenly matched and about the same height and weight. They expected a lot of action as these two competed. To get ready, I went to the kitchen, found some popcorn and put it in the microwave.

When the opening bell rang, one contender came out aggressively with a flurry of blows. His opponent protected himself and immediately went against the ropes. They eventually moved back to the center of the ring where the aggressive fighter continued to throw one combination of blows after another. The boxer receiving all the blows covered himself and moved to the left, then to the right and back to his left again. I began to wonder if he was ever going to throw a blow.

Just then, the boxer who took all the blows from his aggressive opponent, threw three quick

powerful punches that landed on the head of his opponent. He was so fast, I could barely see his hands move. A fourth blow put his aggressive opponent on the floor of the ring. By the time my popcorn was ready, the match was over. The winning boxer apparently was studying his opponent looking for patterns and weaknesses. When he was ready, he “responded” appropriately.

In serious discussions in our relationships we have a tendency to rush and throw a “flurry of

words” at the person with whom we are speaking. Fueled by emotion, we react to what others are saying by throwing a combination of “verbal blows” to get our point across and to “win the match”. Oftentimes we experience “loses” in our relationships because of our excessively aggressive approach, leaving the relationship in a weakened state.

But James 1:19-20 reinforces this Proverb by instructing us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.” Our anger does not produce God’s righteousness in the relationship. We need get in the habit of responding instead of reacting. “Responding” means to quietly pray and ask the Lord for wisdom, and then pause to see how His Spirit leads us to reply.

With this “strategy” we will experience more healthy relationships. And we give an opportunity for God’s righteousness to exist in the midst.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to step into the “ring of life” with a verbal flurry, or

ponder your responses so that His righteousness will prevail in your situation?


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