When we react, we sow seeds that produce weeds.
When we respond, we sow seeds that produce good fruit.
Reacting is based on immediate circumstances.
Responding is based on a much larger picture.
Reacting is defensive.
Responding is calculated.
"In one ear and out the other".
We've all heard that phrase.
Reacting is "in one ear, and out our mouth".
It happens when we take something personally, and jump on those words immediately. It loses sight of the meaningful relationship we have, or could have, with the person we are interacting with. It wants to win an argument so badly, it loses focus, perspective, and sight of what matters the most.
Responding is "in both ears, and paused".
It's when we look at the other person and admit that if we keep going, we'll be somewhere neither of us wants to be. It's the time to crack a joke if we can, own our part of the situation, and come to a mutual understanding that we care more for each other than lobbing verbal grenades at each other's heart.
Sometimes...far from it.
Every single time.
But what about the times when we are absolutely right and they need to know it?!
"...it MAY BE that..."
An investment in grace now will reap a harvest of trust later.
That seems to me to be worth far more than any immediate "win".
Weeds vs. Fruit.
One sprouts up quicker, but has no lasting value.
Reacting vs. Responding.
Sow seeds that produce the fruit found in healthy relationships and you'll provide nourishment for everyone involved. Sow seeds that produce weeds, and what looks like a good idea in the short-term will wither over time.
The old adage is true...
We reap what we sow.
Respond > React.
Healthy relationships > Proving a point.
Conversations > Confrontations.