Reactors and Responders

When others disappoint you, treat you unfairly or hurt you, don’t respond by doing to them what they have done to you. There is no need to pay them back for what they have done. based on Proverbs 24:29

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” Matthew 7:12 NIV

MP900433180[1] Reactive people are impulsive. They tend to act first and think second. What they do depends more on how they feel, rather than a careful consideration of the situation, available strategies and potential outcomes.

MP900443001[1] Responders tend to weigh their options before doing anything. They might feel like reacting, but experience has taught them to think through the situation, and to discern the best course of action. In many cases they are very passionate about their decisions. But responders use their emotional energy to help them implement a thoughtful plan. Reactors let their emotional energy dictate and drive the plan.

I try to be a responder more often than a reactor. What I have discovered is that when I become reactive, I usually end up doing to others what they are doing to me. I give them a taste of their own medicine. Unfortunately, that seldom turns out well. It usually makes the situation worse.

Today’s proverb reminds us that wise people don’t react by doing what was done to them. That’s great advice. But Christians know that’s only the beginning.

Jesus reminds us to not only stop reacting in a tit for tat way, but to actually respond to others the way we wish they had responded to us. No matter how we feel, how hurt or caught off guard we are, we are to respond with love!

MP900309381[1] Everyone of us wants to be loved, so it only makes sense to believe that those we work with, interact with and live around want to be loved too. Let’s make it an intentional effort this week to react less, and to respond as Jesus asks us to, with love!

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