Reactions

March 6, 2020
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We spend our lives reacting to things that occur around us and to us. Hopefully our reactions are positive and helpful to others and ourselves.

Sometimes, we feel that the actions of others are unfair to us, and from childhood, we have to make choices, positive or negative, as to our reactions.

A friend recently sent me a quotation that I found helpful: "When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way that you respond to what's happening. That's where your power is."

Even as babies, this fact is true.

When one of my great-grandsons, Tyler, was just over three months old, his parents put him in a Jolly Jumper®, designed to help him learn to take steps.

Initially, as he hung there, he looked forlorn. He might have been wondering what he had done to deserve this punishment — to be hung like that. But then, his foot touched the floor, he began bouncing, and the smiles kept coming.

He could have just hung there feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he reacted positively, and the benefits came for him and his parents watching him.

For Tyler and for each of us, there continue to be daily experiences when our reactions make a big difference to us and those around us.

The Bible records many situations where people have reacted positively in response to circumstances beyond their control.

Luke 5:18-20 – Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." (NLV)

The friends didn't spend time blaming others. Instead, they took positive action that they could control, and their friend was healed.

I live in a building with eight floors and two elevators. Some time ago, one of the elevators was closed down for service. After dinner one Sunday evening, the second elevator suddenly stopped working. Fortunately, an emergency repair was executed within a couple of hours, but you can imagine the distress that the lack of elevators caused.

As expected, there was the occasional resident who was very upset with management for allowing this to happen. But perhaps surprisingly, the vast majority responded in a positive way, sharing extra time with friends, knowing that complaining wouldn't speed up the necessary corrections. One of the most outspoken comments was from a 97-year-old Christian lady who was very cheery about it all. Peggy is always very positive. My hope is that my readers and I will follow the example of Tyler and Peggy when it comes to our reactions.

Prayer: Dear Father, we realize that we can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Help us to be careful in our reactions and to act in love, putting others before our own interests. May we always be positive and do our best to react in ways that demonstrate the love of Jesus. In His name, we pray. Amen.


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About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Your prayer is mine as well.


    Good reminder. I try to do that.


    Great advice, Vincent. God bless!


    Thanks, Vincent. This is a topic that’s been popping up everywhere lately in groups I study with. Wise advice.


    Vincent,
    After my experience at a certain restaurant last night, I needed this.


    Thank you, Vincent, for sharing these wise words with us in this devotional.
    Blessings.


    Vincent: your devotional today fits in perfectly with my Lenten study. Your keen insight gleans so much of value from daily life.


    Peggy AND Tyler! What a hopeful, helpful devotional, Vincent, something we all can do with God’s encouragement that will continue to grow us up in Him.


    Thank you for your timely message today. It really spoke to me as I deal with a situation. I especially like the quote. I think I will type it out and put it in a prominent place. Blessings to you and please keep writing,


    Zig Zigler the late motivational speaker said whether it is a plane or the elevator you can get as upset as possible but the whatever it comes is still to be delayed.
    (ON)


    Greetings Vince,
    You have written another very good devotional to remind us to stop and think before reacting to situations that we face. Most importantly to ask the Lord’s help, then follow His example of responding in a caring, loving way. Taking time to pray about a situation before immediate reaction of a vocal outburst, surely leads to a more peaceful and manageable solution.
    Many blessings for your thoughtful contributions to the morning devotionals.
    (B.C.)


    I love your jolly jumper story. We now have several grandchildren but the oldest just loved the jolly jumper – almost flipped right over. She could hardly wait to get into the jolly jumper. Then a boy was more like the one you referred to but not excited like our oldest. Then there were twins we put them in one at a time and they hung there even if we tried bouncing it for them. No, No.
    Maybe it has something to do with ears as we took the three girls to the restaurant at CN Tower and my husband and I. The one who loved the jolly jumper loved the rotating restaurant. The twins and I could not wait to get down. Maybe our sensitivity made it worse.
    Enjoy your stories
    (ON)


    Dear Vincent,
    Greetings, Thank you for the thoughtful and grace filled devotionals that you have contributed to the PCC Daily. I always come away from reading them feeling comforted, challenged and inspired by your messages of hope through Christ.
    I especially appreciated your message for today as I have been dealing with a difficult neighbor for a few days. Your message reminds me that hurting people need God’s love and kindness more than anything. How I react to her behaviour might make a huge difference in her being open to receiving that love she so desperately needs.
    So thank you, my friend! Keep writing.
    (BC)


    How appropriate this devotion, and just what I needed to be reminded of today.


    Dear Vincent,
    Thank you once again for a positive outlook on life and good examples. I think everyone would like to be in your building and I am sure you help to set that positive attitude. May we all remember to react in positive ways when things go awry as the tend to do sometimes. Blessings.


    Vince, you write some very thoughtful items. This is a good one and has something to say to us all. I hope you are well and experiencing the presence and love of God.
    Lots of good memories!


    Good morning Vincent Walter, your devotional this morning is so true. I recently lost my husband, unexpectedly. Now, I need to positively react.
    Number one: get out of bed!
    Hope your day is full of surprises!
    Thank. You.

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