In high school science class we learned one of Newton’s laws: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
I think this can teach us something about relationships as well. Imagine a time when someone said something that really upset you. You probably had an emotional reaction.
…it may have been really powerful.
…and it may have brought out the worst in you.
…and maybe you said or did things you couldn’t undo.
That’s why when someone does or says something that causes you to have an emotional flair-up it can be helpful to recognize what’s going on within yourself and resist the urge to immediately do something you’ll regret. Why?
Because reactivity skews reality.
Quite often we don’t have all the facts. Maybe there are missing puzzle pieces to the situation and we would have responded differently if we knew what they were.
Either way, we always want to be faithful to who God calls us to be even when the worst in us explodes to the surface. It can be difficult to do, but with God’s help it’s possible.
Writing to the young Timothy, Paul said that God’s Spirit “gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). That’s a good word for us too.
So in the interest of being at our best and not at our worst, it’s helpful to pause, pray, think it through, and respond thoughtfully.
When you do that, perspective returns, reality comes back into focus, and you’re more likely to respond by putting your best foot forward instead of jumping off the deep end in a hurricane of misplaced emotions.
Reactivity skews reality. So remember: “the Spirit God gave us… gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
By Matthew Ruttan