Faith & Life: Learning to Respond Maturely


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Learning to Respond Maturely

There is a Difference Between Responding and Reacting

by Joanne Troppello


Last night I started watching another video on Andy Stanley’s YouTube channel. This three-part series discussed how it’s important to better manage the way you respond to people and situations. The simple, yet profound statement he made resonated with me.


“Our superpower is our respond-ability factor.” – Andy Stanley

He further mentioned that “We relinquish control of our lives and our destiny when we react and don’t respond.” That is a lesson I’d learned years ago after reading many relationship books by Gary Smalley and Gary Chapman—and through personal growth and development. Yet, it’s a vital life lesson to learn.


Reacting Versus Responding


Dictionary.com states that the verb react means to “behave in a particular way in response to something.” To respond is described as to “say something in reply.” Reacting is more based on a behavioral reaction. Responding is related to communication.


According to Mindfool.com, “Reaction is emotion-driven, aggressive, fuels disagreement, and weakens you. A response is generally calm, measured, empowers you, and can usually aid in solving situations.”

I had to learn the hard way about the benefits of responding rather than reacting. I grew up in a dysfunctional home environment and learned how to communicate by reacting immaturely, many times in anger.


As I developed as an emotionally intelligent adult and grew in my walk with the Lord, I saw the value in measured responses rather than wild reactions. Yelling failed to get me anywhere positive. Reacting in anger served no purpose in my life.


I only saw positive changes when I learned how to manage my emotions in a more mature manner. I needed to stop. Take a breath. Then respond.


Diving deeper into the Bible played a vital role in learning how to respond and not to react to people. Some of the following verses served as pivotal catalysts for growth in my life.


1. Learn to Listen More


So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19-20 (NKJV)


2. Don’t Sin in Your Anger


“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. – Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)


3. Respond Maturely


“A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.” – Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)


4. It’s Foolish to Act in Anger


“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.” – Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NKJV)


5. Measured Responses Work Better


“A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)


Yes, the road has not been easy. At times, I still falter and react instead of responding. However, I’m grateful that God has helped me to overcome my reactionary issues through the years.


I am a work in progress and so are you. That’s something positive to hang onto.

Do you generally react or respond to people and situations?

About the Author


Joanne Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel. Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel. Check out MSS Live Well Corner.