By Karen Friday
When you own your response, you can bless others through your self-control. This takes practice and guidance from God, but it can be done well. Here are three tips to help you.
3 Ways to Own Your Response
Whether it’s with our husbands, children, extended family or friends, we often respond in either inappropriate ways or at the inopportune time.
You know that saying, “Open mouth and insert foot?” I’ve been there before!
We all have times we let our mouths run ahead of us. Or, we think we must say the first thing that pops into our head. Or, we assume we are right and the other person is clearly wrong.
But we can’t physically see or determine what is going on behind the scenes—what underlying issues may contribute to the other person’s words and responses.
So let’s unpack three ways you can own your response.
1. Realize you can never control the words or responses of others; you can only control your response through help from the Holy Spirit.
I’ll never control the words or even responses of others. I only control how I respond. And I possess the power to control my good and godly response when I’m walking in the Spirit.
In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul discusses our freedom in Christ. While this freedom is for me and for you, it’s freedom we maintain. How? By living in the Spirit, growing in the fruit of the Spirit and walking in the Spirit.
Friend, the Holy Spirit is the number one way to take ownership of our responses to any situation.
The sooner I realize this truth, the sooner I let go of the control and look to the Holy Spirit to help “me.”
2. Remember to pray for wisdom, insight, and discernment in your response.
Praying for how we respond to others is a powerful tool to add to our spiritual warfare toolbelt. Why? Because the enemy loves to use our knee-jerk response to tear down the other person or make the situation worse.
Instead of regrets over knee-jerk responses, the best response is to get on our knees and pray. Not only can we add this prayer to our daily prayer time, but also as a silent prayer to the Lord in the moment.
Yes, pray right then and there, asking the Lord to give you wisdom in what to say. Ask for insight into the situation and discernment on whether to respond or remain quiet. No response is a response in and of itself, but it needs to be appropriate for the circumstances.
3. React with the love and kindness of Jesus in me.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)
Years ago, I read this Scripture and decided to commit it to memory. And it holds true in my life.
When I remember to give a gentle answer to a sharp-toned comment from my husband or child, it softens the other person’s heart. Likewise, when I snap back in anger, my harsh response only makes the issue worse.
A word of caution: Don’t make the same mistake I did of pointing this Bible verse out to your loved one when they respond with a harsh word to you. We often stir up more anger when we use Scripture to discipline others. Instead, let the Scripture lead you into greater self-control through God’s help.
Wife Step: Which of these three steps will you incorporate this week?
Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media, and is currently working on her first book. Vulnerable about her own marriage journey, Karen knows life never gets more real than as a wife. Karen and her husband Mike have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com
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