Posted by: Diane | July 24, 2013

React-ary Or Respond-ary

I know, I know – there are no such words as, “react-ary” or “respond-ary” but bear with me for a moment because I do like the distinction between the terms.  A react-ary person acts within the context of whatever just happened. Someone talks loudly at her and she talks back loudly as well. In contrast, a respond-ary person responds on the basis of broader principles. This person acts with careful deliberation and thoughtfulness. Someone talks loudly at her and she remembers that a gentle answer turns away wrath. (Proverbs 15.1)

I recently went through a situation that really upset me. I felt like my integrity was being questioned and I had done nothing to warranted the innuendoes that were being suggested. In fact, I had gone far beyond what was expected of me in this situation and felt wonderfully about being able to serve this person for as long and as intensely as I had.

To be honest,  I’m a slow thinker. I’m not one of those people who are quick-witted or can respond with a sharp answer immediately ….(I’m thinking….) and for that, I am very thankful because if I was so oriented, I think I would probably have done far more harm than good with my words…

…but I was definitely hurt so although I chose not to react at the time, I did talk it over with a friend and she helped me think through the best way to respond. It’s interesting that “responsibility” IS a word. I think we do have the response-ability to slow down long enough to choose our response and in doing so, we can break the cycle of instinctive responses and/or wrong but well practised behavior.  I’ve learned that taking responsibility can really change the course of a conversation and a relationship.

The other dynamic I’m learning is that the time when emotions are strongly felt is seldom the time for one to be reasonable.  At the time this happened to me,  I didn’t say anything, I talked the situation over with a friend during the week that followed and now that it’s been over a week since the actual incident, I’ve had time to “reposition” myself – to assume the best of the person and to recognize that her hurtful words towards me are certainly not a pattern in our relationship.  Letting time pass has gifted me with a different perspective and I have chosen to overlook this offence.

Loud words are seldom wise ones.  

raise your voice

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  Colossians 4.6 ESV



  1. Yes, I too am often at a loss for words, believe it or not!
    So the best thing, as you have said, is not to say anything that you’d be sorry for. Thanks for the reminder.

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