Respond versus React

How many of you (be honest now) will admit to reacting to something your spouse has said or done that really irritated you? Most if not all of us have done that if we’re being honest with ourselves. Often this leads to an escalation of the situation from something relatively minor to full blown conflict.

Many times these are hot button issues that have lots of history to them. How can we short circuit these volatile situations and shut them down before they become blowouts? The key is to respond rather than react when those situations occur. When we react, we usually do so without thinking through the consequences of our reaction.

If we’ll stop, hold our tongue and take a few minutes to decode the situation asking the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom. He promises to give us sound counsel. While we live in an impatient culture that demands immediate results, we can choose to act differently. The Holy Spirit helps us to respond appropriately. If we ask Him to think, love and live through us, He will. The Spirit empowers our listening and speech by streams flowing with living water to our spouse.

If we can give our spouse the same grace and unconditional love we receive from God then we’ll be empowered to disarm the situation through our Holy Spirit inspired response. Let’s say for example that our spouse had a very poor relationship with their parents. Growing up in a household in which they were constantly criticized and never praised. Now this same critical nature is effecting how they see life.

If we’ll ask the Holy Spirit to give us sound counsel and guide our response, we can speak encouragement and hope which counteracts the critical and negative words. We have the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus flowing through us which empowers us to overcome.We can be the channel of God’s love, joy and peace when we listen to the Holy Spirit and respond in love rather than react.

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