I do not know about you, but in the heat of a conversation, I am generally more tempted to emotionally respond, rather than rationally respond. The way we respond to people and situations, has more power than we may realize. It has the power to build a strong foundation and relationship and it has the power to destroy relationships. A response can cause a relationship to grow stronger, or it can cause someone to become defense and have their guard up every time we enter a room. In this article, we will address how to function and grow through our emotional responses in a healthy way! The final goal should always be to show people the way to Jesus, not revenge to justify our emotional response.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” – James 1:19-20
There are a lot of moments where God is prompting us to slow down and take a moment to process and discern the situation, before jumping to a conclusion or response. We cannot allow our emotions to rule our day, or get in the way of what God is trying to do through us.
Here are three simple ways to avoid an irrational, emotional response:
1. Take a deep breathe before responding. We hear this all the time and laugh when someone says to “count to ten” but it is honestly one of the smartest things you can do. It works in the heat of the moment. When you take deep breaths, you are pushing more oxygen to your brain. This gives you a clearer perspective on things, producing a better thought process in the moment. The more clarity in your situation the better.
2. See both sides of the situation. Take a step back, emotionally and hypothetically. Removing yourself from the situation, gives you perspective from both sides of the situation. If you know you tend to respond based off of emotions, it’s best to eliminate them. View both sides of the situation, to ensure a rational response, through using wisdom and discernment.
3. Humble and submit yourself. As much as you may feel like you do not owe the other person something, whether you do or not, you do owe it to God. We must honor and love others. We are called to love God and to love others. If you truly strive to serve God everyday, you will humble yourself and simmer your emotions. This will allow you to love others through a simple act of kindness. No matter if they deserve it or not, loving someone can be the best way of representing Jesus to others.
At the end of the day, know that you should always pray about things more than you talk about them. If emotional and unjustifiable responses are things you struggle with, I encourage you to take it to God. Above all else, always take it to God!
“…Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” -James 1:22
Humbly accept God’s word, allow it to plant in your heart, and allow that harvest to save your soul; for that’s the power God’s word has in our lives!