Reactionary or Responsive

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17)

A reactionary person acts within the context of whatever just happened—someone yells at me, so I scream back. The reaction is often far out of proportion to what the situation calls for. In contrast, a responsive person acts on the basis of broader principles. If I am responsive, and someone yells at me, I remember that a soft answer turns away wrath. Responsive people act thoughtfully.  

Queen was a border collie who loved to please Jonathan, her master. “Go get the cow,” Jonathan would command at chore time, and Queen would respond by darting away to the pasture. There she would sort out the cow from among the steers and gently bring her in.  

One day Jonathan was gone and his wife needed to bring in the cow. “Go get the cow,” she commanded repeatedly, but Queen refused to obey. Finally Jonathan’s wife whacked the unresponsive dog with a stick. Queen took off for the pasture and soon returned with a wheezing cow. As soon as the cow entered the barn, Queen bolted for the pasture again and soon returned with all the steers at a dead run. Without stopping to catch a breath, she rushed back to the pasture and returned behind a herd of galloping horses.  

Was Queen responding or reacting? Was she trying to make up for her failure to act or retaliating against her mistress for hitting her?  

In today’s Bible reading, reactionary Peter was like Queen, first refusing to comply and then trying to over-comply. Responsive Jesus calmly stayed on track with the original plan. We may be stressed, taxed, and tested today. Will we be reactionary or responsive?  

Reactors go off at the circumstance trigger; 
Responders are guided by precepts much bigger.

From Paws on My Porch, by Gary Miller
© 2015 TGS International, PO Box 355, Berlin, Ohio 44610
Used by permission 


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