Before We React

Thoughts swirled through my mind after a heated “discussion” with my husband.  It is rare when we have arguments like this.  Usually, we are on par with each other and just generally get along.  This time, however, after a particularly long day, we were stuck in a disagreement over a scheduling conflict.

Later, I sat by myself , surfing the internet, mulling over the conversation.   I went to Lysa TerKeurst’s blog over at Proverbs 31 ministries.  There, I found a great post that convicted my heart, entitled, “Three Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting”. 

Lysa TerKeurst's 3 Questions To Ask Before Reacting:

  1. What part of this issue can I own and apologize for?
  2. How can I soften my heart toward this person so I honor them despite how they react?
  3. If I knew this conversation was being recorded and then shared with people I greatly respect, how would this change my reaction?

Since discovering this list, I have read them habitually to help me BEFORE I react to a situation.
I also have 4 questions of my own that I ask myself in addition to the list above.

Kim's Questions To Ask Before Reacting:

1.     In ten years, will this disagreement matter (or even be remembered)?
This one helps me so much.  This is probably a question that has helped our marriage the most because usually the answer is no.

2.    Would I be willing to humble myself and wash this person’s feet right now?
You might be thinking, wow, that is so Bible days and no one does that nowadays.  However, I have washed someone’s feet or rub their feet with oils/lotion after a disagreement.  I would say this one act took me from a mindset of a hot temper to humbled love in a matter of minutes.  It showed them, as well as me, that we are on the same team and I am willing to serve them.  You could also give a hug, or another physical gesture, if the foot-washing thing is weird to you.

3.    Do I love the person more than I love the issue at hand?
My kid accidentally broke an iPad.  I love my child more than an iPad.
My husband and I had a scheduling conflict.  I love my husband more than the problem.

4.    Am I speaking and acting out of gratefulness for who this person is in Christ?  
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:1-6: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Through asking myself these questions that day after our argument, I realized that I was the one in the wrong.  I went to my loving husband to ask forgiveness.  We both apologized for our lack of communication on the subject and were able to work through it, forgiving one another for bad attitudes.  Through forgiveness, we were able to restore the joy we had just a few hours before.

 “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
~Ruth Bell Graham

This statement rings true not only in marriage but all relationships.  

There is liberty in surrendering to another our determination to be right… but wouldn’t it be great if we could train ourselves to come to a place of surrender before we react?

God is enough to help us to have the wisdom before we react.  His grace is sufficient to cover our faults when we make sin against another.  The same rings true for those who have hurt us.  His grace is sufficient for the one who hurt you so deeply.  His grace is sufficient for the one that you have forgiven 100 times and they still do not appreciate your love.  His grace is sufficient for you, for me and for all.

I want to encourage you to use these questions as a resource for yourself as well, Let us be a people who love BEFORE we react.  

Do you need forgiveness today for reacting wrongly to a loved one?  Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive?  May we be released of our heavy hearts, forgiving one another as He has forgiven us.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
~Colossians 3:13

Need more inspiration on forgiveness?  Check out this video: 

See Y'all In The Round!
Kim