Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Are You An Actor, Or A Reactor?

Some folks tend to react to things in life. You know, they live in a closed world, and things go well until someone or something invades their realm just a bit. This provokes a reaction to the situation. And then others tend to "act" on principles that remove the impulse to "react" to people and things.
Let me ask you something. When you meet a stranger on the side-walk, or walking through the mall (or anywhere), do you wait on them to smile and greet you? If you're a waiter, you probably never give strangers a greeting, or a smile; unless they greet you first. Then you react to their greeting. I decided years ago, I was going to speak first. Not only to strangers, but to church members and co-workers as well. 99.99999% of the time I get a reaction. And of that percentage, 99.99999% is positive! I simply love that.
I know from working with people that most folks just don't love their jobs. So, especially early on in the day, most people are not in the best of moods. Knowing this, I make it a point to offer smiles and greetings, especially to those folks who seem to need them. I never get negative reactions. Sometimes they are less than energetic, but that's Ok because I accomplish my part to act, not always react.
I've had several opportunities to react to irate customers over the years. But listen to this. I have already decided what my response will be. Did you catch that? It's not a reaction, it is a response. I have determined that since I have to respond to an unhappy customer, I will respond in a predetermined, positive manner. Not because I always feel so positive, but because I know what a calm, positive response will do. This is what the Book says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh answer stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1) I have seen this truth displayed among we humans over and over through the years. A harsh word, provokes a harsh reaction. But after receiving a harsh, critical word from someone, what if we are prepared to "respond" with a gentle answer? I've seen many volatile situations diffused by a soft, gentle answer. Again, it's not always easy, but it works. And, in order to respond gently, you must determine beforehand that you will do so!
Truthfully, it is more difficult to be an actor, instead of a reactor. With our human nature comes the desire to defend ourselves when harsh words are launched our way. But those who live by God's Spirit, and His Word, are learning what the Golden Rule really means; and how incredibly powerful it is when applied in our lives. "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you..." (Matthew 7:12) Think about it. How do you want people to treat you? Well, treat them the same way! Jesus makes it possible as He lives in us and we allow Him to work in us.
Please remember this very simple statement. An actor is one who acts first, or has predetermined how they will respond to any harsh words. He or she acts or responds with principles from God's Word that remove the impulse to react. When we act, there is no need to react. And when we are prepared to respond positively, our response replace any negative reaction. Blessings!

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