The Space to Choose James 1:19

#349  The Space to Choose  James 1:19

“Between stimulus and response there is a space… in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response, lies our growth and our freedom.” -Viktor Frankl, Auschwitz Survivor

I prayed about what to fill this space with, especially in our family company business meetings when I so often react and it seems like there is no space between the stimulus and the response.

The LORD answered me with James 1:19:  “…let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”  Quick to hear.  We need to LISTEN in this space.  And other words the LORD led me to:  curiosity and validation.  It is much easier to LISTEN if we are curious to understand what is being said, or curious to consider the valid points in this view or idea that I tend to react to.  Validation or rephrasing the person’s view is also a way to give the person we are speaking with the sense that we are LISTENING.  This also slows down the decision making process.  I can choose to go avoid snap judgments and immediate emotional reactions.  By the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7) I can choose to exercise deliberate reasoning in Christ.

“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.  A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones.” Proverbs 14:29, 30

Slow to anger:  this is the space between the stimulus and the response.  To make sound decisions we must fill this space with the mind of God and Christ.  Quick reactions are responses without exercising deliberate choice;  they are a form of ‘sloppy choice.’  These rash responses tend to lack good sense and have destructive outcomes.  A tranquil heart and mind that can listen to the Voice of God is beneficial, but unbridled emotion leads to decay (Strong’s #7538) of our strength.

“A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention.”

Fill the space with the mind of God and Christ, and there is possibility of resolution of conflict.  Proverbs 15:18

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Proverbs 16:32

It is a form of discipline when we master the power of choice in the space between the stimulus and the response.  This is the mighty work of the Holy spirit, the sign of a true spiritual triumph.  We conquer our own shortsighted emotions in the power of Christ.

“He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool (#7119) spirit is a man of understanding.”  Proverbs 17:27

Part of mastering this space between stimulus and response is mastering the art of restraint in our words, using ‘spiritual duct tape!’   (Strong’s #7119:  to chill, cool; fig quiet)  When we restrain our words it gives us time to “chill out,” time to think and create the possibility of understanding.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5


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