The Dangers of Knee-Jerk Reactions

Circumstances overwhelm us.   Words spoken hurt us.  A co-worker’s behavior infuriates us.  Situations frustrate us.  

Emotions.  At any given time of day we may feel one or many simultaneously.  

In and of themselves, emotions are daily glorious reminders that we are blessed with the ability to feel. 

However, when our emotions trigger rash reactions and decisions, the consequences can be nasty.  

Knee-jerk decisions based on current emotions often backfire 99 percent of the time. 

Learning to control our reactions to circumstances is critical to spiritual and personal maturity. 

In 2 Samuel we meet Uzzah, a man charged with transporting God’s presence – the Ark of the Covenant – from one location to another.  

Carrying the Holy of Holies came with a command – no human hands were to touch the Ark but it was to be loaded on oxen using poles on each side.    

During this journey, the oxen carrying the Ark stumbled and Uzzah “reached out and took hold of the ark of God” forgetting that this irreverent act would be costly and his life ended there “before the ark of God.” 2 Sam 6:6-7.

Instead of trusting that God would steady the oxen and lead the journey, he took matters into his own hands and teaches us that while emotions are beautiful when mishandled they can be deadly.

When we mistakenly believe God has simply abandoned us, has forgotten us, doesn’t see or care, is running late or isn’t capable and snatch our troubles from His hands storming off in frustration we are conveying a lack of trust and alienating ourselves from our Source.   

As parents, would not the wound run deep if our children never completely trusted us through the years to feed, clothe and shelter them as they matured?  

Would we not ache if they accused us of neglect or abuse or loved us only during times of blessing and provision?

So when the answer doesn’t come as quickly as we want or in the heat of the moment we react with rash decisions or words, we are left with a mess of our own making with only ourselves to blame. 

Instead of taking matters into our own hands what if we simply did as He commanded and “be still” and “wait upon” Him allowing Him to stretch and grow us in faith in the process.  

Rash decisions and reactions made in the midst of  chaotic circumstances seldom succeed.  

Words cannot be unspoken, deeds can’t be undone, decisions can’t be overturned and we are left with the consequences often blaming God when it was in fact our own fault because we reacted in an emotionally charged moment. 

Nowhere do we read Uzzah was evil or bad. His life in fact thankfully teaches us the importance of obedience to God even when it goes against our natural tendencies to react.  

Discipline is required to obey rather than react, to reign in our emotions instead of verbally vomiting on others when we are hurt, to wait on the Lord instead of taking matters into our own hands then expecting Him to clean up our mess when the emotions subside or the circumstances right themselves. 

Yes, we serve a merciful God who is patient and gracious to us even when we behave from the seat of our emotional pants.  

Today, I encourage you to be mindful of your emotions and your reactions.  

Emotions can either control us or we can control them.

They will always come with consequences that we alone will bear. 

Hatred only hurts the hater.  Fear only paralyzes the fearful.  Anxiety only ages the worrier.  Impatience only creates chaos for the impatient. 

So never let your emotions overtake your common sense and rob you of the joy and peace that is rightfully yours!

Sandra Hubbard

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One Comment on “The Dangers of Knee-Jerk Reactions

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