4 Reactions to Life

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“Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.”

– Chuck Swindoll

We Overreact

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who react and those who overreact. My cousin’s landlord will fly off the handle at even the slightest provocation, so it’s like walking on eggshells around her place. But Christians are not to be so. Paul said that love believes all things, which may mean that love gives people the benefit of the doubt. In fact, “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

We Overestimate

We sometimes overinflate our problems to seem almost insurmountable. The late pastor and Bible teacher Adrian Rogers once said that 90 percent of the things we worry about never happen and that only 10 percent of the things we worry about come to pass. Why waste so much time and spend so much energy worrying about 9 out of 10 things that’ll never happen? We overestimate some things and blow them out of proportion, but to God everything is small. He says to us, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me” (Jeremiah 32:27)? The obvious answer to that rhetorical question is no! It’s just that we make it seem hard in our minds.

We Miscalculate

Sometimes it is hard to get rid of that pesky little sin that keeps hindering our walk with Christ. I know that I sometimes rationalize it away; by doing so, I miscalculate the effect that this sin has in my life. We can let a little leaven in the lump, and before you know it, it’s puffed up into a sizable problem. In this same context, Paul warned that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Also, in this same context, the author of Hebrews says, “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

We Seek Revenge

This is a hard thing even for Christians to do, but we still seek to get revenge when we are wronged or hurt. But God says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’ and in fact ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21). Trust God–He will ensure justice is done.

Conclusion

It is so true that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. So don’t overreact, don’t overestimate, don’t miscalculate, and don’t seek revenge. Try to make it like this: Life is 90 percent what happens to us and 10 percent how we respond to it.

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Jack is an author and pastor at the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane, Kansas. You can find more writing from Jack at WhatChristiansWantToKnow.com and FaithInTheNews.com.