There is a myth that haunts anyone talking in public; an audience reaction is an indication of truth. Said another way, democratic voting is always right, a team knows where it needs to go, and common sense can answer any question. When someone tells a story of “when they heard that, they were furious and wanted to kill them on the spot”; (Acts 5.33) it is only natural to assume that the person telling the story was doing something wrong. The correct answer is maybe, maybe not. Reactions are not accurate truth indicators. In fact, they are not indicators of truth at all.
Reactions tell the story of the person listening, observing, or experiencing. They are a response by those involved to an external event. They often tell a detailed story that has nothing to do with the speaker. While illuminating in their own right, they should never be considered as measure of the quality, truth, or intent of the person instigating the event. Yet, there is a however to the statement. It is hard not to feel judged and measured by the reactions of those around us.
I would like to suggest the following reminders, to myself as well as anyone else that might choose to listen. First, always act intentionally, sensitive to others but never governed by others. We are primarily responsible for what we do.
Second, if one wants to be effective, consider the audience, time, and place. Being right is never a license to offend, inflame, or ridicule.
Third, always treat the reactions of those around you as a gift. They may be useful – if so, keep and treasure them. They may be utterly and completely worthless – if so, discard them quietly and discreetly without causing embarrassment to anyone.
The story of our lives will be told by our actions. It is a story worth writing well. It is also a story filled with freedom and responsibility. How we react may tell more about ourselves than we care to admit. Today we can give our reactions away, accepting God's in return.
2021 Copyright © Daily Whispers.