Reactions and Overreactions

Before we have time to think, we react.

In Luke 9:51-55, Jesus was traveling toward Jerusalem when a Samaritan village chose not to receive him. James and John reacted. They said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”

It was reasonable for them to be emotional about their rejection of Jesus. Their action was unkind and inhospitable. They could be sad or mad or frustrated or any combination of those things, but I think that they over-reacted because Jesus immediately turned and rebuked them. Some manuscripts add a line to the end of verse 56: “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (KJV). Their overreaction caused them to miss the point and forget their place.

It’s reasonable for me to be frustrated when someone says or does something silly, but I need to take care to keep my overreactions in check. Proverbs says that “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”