Reactions Speak Louder Than Words ● Part 2 | "Over and Under Reactions"

Our actions speak louder than words, but our reactions speak louder than both. They reveal what’s really going on under the surface and reflect our fears, values, and even our faith.

NOTE: The following content is a raw transcript and has not been edited for grammar, punctuation, or word usage.

Today, we are in Part 2 of our series, Reactions Speak Louder than Words. Reactions Speak Louder than Words. Now, last week, I challenged you with a homework assignment. I suggested that we all practice the over-under reaction at home. Now, quick disclaimer, if you're not a Christian or not a Jesus follower, or you're not a religious person, , and you're watching because somebody's making you watch, or they're gonna feed you lunch or whatever, you just stumbled upon this broadcast whatever, here's the thing, everything I say from this point forward is optional for you, you can pick and choose and there's some good stuff in here. In fact, just the exercise we just went through in terms of rethinking your reaction to some things that happen in your home.

I mean that's a healthy thing to do, somebody will thank you for it. But if you're a Jesus follower, if you're somebody who claims to be a Christian, but not just somebody who believes something, but somebody who wants to live out the teaching of Jesus, what follows is not optional. This is required, and Jesus is... What we're gonna do is we're gonna practice now, not just home but everywhere, what Jesus instructed his followers to do everywhere with everyone, because he understood. He understood that while actions speak louder than words, reactions speak louder than either. Actions speak louder than words, but reactions, our reactions speak louder than either, because reactions cause people, especially certain kinds of reactions we're gonna talk about.

They cause people to stop and stare. If you've walked into the office and somebody's overreacting or having a react... We just stop and stare. Two types of reactions in particular cause people to stop and stare. First one, I just mentioned is the over-reaction, we've again, we've all stopped in the grocery store, in the mall or even upstairs, you hear this loud conversation, you think, "Gosh, somebody's... It's kinda wound up somebody's overreacting." Over reactions are why we have to apologize sometimes, right? We have conversations that we need to have with people, but because we overreact, we have to then apologize even though we were right and we were right the wrong way, You ever been right the wrong way? You were over, right? Your volume got a little over right, so you have to apologize, but the other type of reaction that always gets or usually gets people's attention. The one that Jesus is pointing us is what we call the over-under reaction. The over-under reaction is an unexpected, an unexpected counter-intuitive, that's not what I thought was coming, remarkable reaction to disappointment, to being mistreated, unmet expectations, criticism, even betrayal, loss, rejection.

This reaction that causes people to be surprised. They're surprised, they see what happened to you, and then they look at your reaction and they think, What are you up to? You did what? You reacted how? Wait, you showed up for them after they walked away from you? You helped them after they hurt you? Wait, wait, wait, wait, you're telling me, you apologized? You didn't owe them an apology. You apologize? Wait, you forgave them? Because Jesus viewed mistreatment, unjust, unfair, he viewed that for his followers as an opportunity. An opportunity to react in such a way that it catches people off-guard, because in that moment, they recognize that that cause didn't warrant that effect. And his point in all this is... We talked about last time, this was the whole point of last time. His point was that our reactions are opportunities to reflect the Father, our Father in heaven, by responding like our Father in heaven, because our reactions aren't just opportunities to reflect what God is like. Here's where we're gonna go for the next few minutes. Our reactions reflect our confidence or our lack of confidence in God, our reactions... I mean, you can always tell something about a person by their reactions, we all know how to behave when behaving suits our purposes, right?

So actions speak louder than words, but reactions speak louder than all of it. You wanna know what a person's really like, watch their reactions, right? Our reactions say something to the people around us, whether we recognize it or not. Our reactions say something to the people around us about really how confident we are in God or how much confidence we lack in God. Again, this is one of the reasons that people so easily dismiss Christianity, when things don't go our way as Christians, we have a tendency to react as if God is not in control. We have a tendency to react just like everybody else and for people outside our faith, of course, they're like, "I knew it, I knew it, you play the part, you're nice when you need to be nice and polite and all that, but boy when... You are under pressure when things didn't go in your way, when she walked out, when you were betrayed, when I treated you unkindly, I saw what's really in there, and what's in you is the same thing that's in me and there's no difference between us. Your faith is just something you're leveraging for your own benefit, there's nothing to it."

Our reactions reflect who we believe, controls, outcomes. That... Just to be honest, I mean I think you can relate to this. I overreact when I'm convinced that things are spinning outta control. But specifically, I overreact when I think things are spinning out of my control. So here's the question. We're gonna come back to this at the end, but I just wanna put this out there for the next few minutes. "What do your reaction... " This is for Jesus followers only, for Christians, everybody can play, but for Christians specifically. "What do your reactions say about your confidence in God, as a parent, as an employer, as an employee, as a citizen?" What... If somebody just looked at the way that you react physically, online, wherever it might be, what do your reactions... What do my reactions say about our confidence in God? And how would you react? And how would I react to disappointment and heartbreak and being treated unfairly or unkindly? If I was absolutely convinced that God is with me and you were absolutely convinced that God is with you, if you are absolutely convinced as the New and Old Testament teach, that God in some way, shape, or form determined outcomes?

What if you really believe what the Apostle Paul wrote, this famous statement that so many of us have heard so many times, many of us can quote it from memory, "That all things actually work out together for good, for those who are loved by God and those who love God and are called according to His purpose." What if you really believe that God was in the details, and God can work through the details for His glory, and ultimately your good? If you were absolutely convinced of that, if I was absolutely convinced of that, how would I react? And how would that impact my reactions and your reactions? This is the point that Jesus made throughout his ministry, it's what he invited his first century followers to embrace, and it's what he invites us, in fact, he requires and here's the thing, in response to criticism, I know this is hard, in response to criticism, in response to being treated unfairly, unjustly in the response to loss, we should as Jesus followers, press pause for at least 30 seconds and ask, "Okay, before I say what I'm thinking about saying, react the way I wanna react, react the way everybody else expects me to react, react the way I would be justified in reacting, what would... What would it look like? What would it sound like to respond like God actually is in control of outcomes. Now guys, okay, I think all of us, but men in particular, if this seems so weak, so passive, just kind of ridiculous, like Andy, I don't know what world you live in, but I live in the real world. I get that.

And here's what's so fascinating. Check it out for yourself. I would love for you to. That is exactly how it struck Jesus first century followers, this is amazing to me, and maybe I missed something, but best I can tell, there is no evidence that any one... There's no evidence that anyone following Jesus took any of this teaching seriously, not one shred of evidence, they are following him around for three to three and a half years, and they never, ever... Get this, they never attempt to apply it. It's like they were just like us. It's like, "Hey, Rabbi, wannabe Messiah. I hope that works out for you." That is not how it works in the real world. There's no evidence that they went the extra mile for anybody, there's no evidence they have turned the other cheek, there's no evidence that they ever took love your enemies seriously, in fact just the opposite.

Case in point, and I referenced this a few weeks ago, but we didn't look at the text, but it's worth going back to. At the end of... I mean this is just how realistic the New Testament presents his followers, okay, these aren't magic people with super powers. I mean, these are just normal people, and they would listen to Jesus say these things and think, "It doesn't work, it doesn't work that way, that's not how life works, and I'm not even gonna try to work it." So at the end of his ministry, they've been with him three to three and a half years, he's on his way to Jerusalem, in fact Luke who investigated and got all these stories, and in fact, I feel confident that this little piece of narrative is a piece of narrative that Jesus closest followers are like, "Luke, you don't... Don't include that. There's so much other stuff to talk about. Do you have to include this?" Luke's like, "Well, apparently this is what happened." Luke, tells us that Jesus resolutely, this is so powerful, sets out for Jerusalem, so he's done his ministry, he's in Galilee, now he's gonna go to Jerusalem and he's gonna go. And He knows what's gonna happen to him once he gets to Jerusalem.

So he's on his way to Jerusalem, and then here's what happened. So the direct route is right through Samaria, which in is you know the Jews and Samaritans in the first century did not get along for a variety of reasons. So here is what happened. So he's on his way to Jerusalem, he's gonna get there as soon as he can for Passover. And He sent messengers on ahead who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. So he sends two of his guys or three of his guys ahead to say, "Hey, let them know there's a big group coming, we need a place to stay, we need a place to eat, we're willing to pay," but there aren't hotels, but hospitality was a big deal in ancient times, because there weren't hotels and it was dangerous to spend the night on the road, or on the highway, and so he sends a group to...

Had to give them a heads up, "Hey, group's coming. It's a big group. Could have been 20-30 people," we don't know how many people were traveling with Jesus at this point. But the people there in the Samaritan village did not welcome him because he was heading for Jerusalem. He was heading to Jerusalem for Passover, this was so offensive to the Samaritans because the Samaritans viewed a different mountain, Mount Gerizim as the holy site chosen by God. The Jews chose Mount Moriah, and said "No, it's Mount Moriah is the holy site." And so they'd built a temple on Mount Moriah. So the fact that Jesus and his guys are going to Jerusalem, I mean that was just offensive. It was just in your face. You're wrong about what God is like and to the God's people. And so we're on our way to... So they're like, "No, you can't stay with us."

So they responded with inhospitality, which was so offensive in ancient times, because again, hospitality to travelers on the road was expected. Now, these guys have been with Jesus three years, they've heard... They've heard this... We call it the Sermon on the Mount, that was Jesus standard message, wherever he went, we believe scholars believe this was Jesus standard message, it's only recorded for us the whole thing in Matthew, part of it in Luke, but we think, most people think for three years this was Jesus core message. So the disciples have sat through this sermon over and over and over. When the disciples, James and John saw this pause, this is John who as an old man after the resurrection, brings us the phrase that everyone's heard that no one had heard before. John is the one who introduces us to the concept that God is love. This is the same John that pinned John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." Same guy. Pre- resurrection, When the disciples, James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and destroy them?" [laughter]

Same guy. It's like, "What? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, you know, I mean we'll teach them to offend our Rabbi, would you just empower us for just a minute, you don't have to do it, you stand back, we don't want you to be associated with this, can we just stand outside the city and call down fire and burn up every single living person in the whole Samaritan village because they wouldn't let us spend the night. Don't you think that would be appropriate? I mean there's Old Testament precedent for this."

But Jesus turned to them, but Jesus turned to them and he rebuked, and the Greek word here is the word that he always used in the gospels for rebuking demons, it's like the strongest kind of rebuke like, "No, we're not gonna call down fire and burn up the village. Have you not heard anything I've said? I don't return evil for evil. And if you're gonna follow me, you gotta give that up as well, that's not how it's done in my kingdom, that's just another version of kingdoms of this world. I'm introducing something brand new. I want you to respond to people the way your Heavenly Father has responded to you and your sin and your brokenness, and your inconsistency, your broken promises, so no, we're not gonna call down fire from heaven, John." [laughter]

Can you imagine how stupid and all these guys must have felt, I mean we'll gonna get to that in a second. On the other side of the resurrection, they're like, "Goodness gracious, He was patient with us." Then he and his disciples, they just went to another village. From that village, they make their way to Jerusalem, in Jerusalem, they watched Jesus apply his teaching in the most extreme ways imaginable, when they come to arrest Him in the garden at night, he doesn't resist. The 11 apostles, they resist. They resist and run. Jesus doesn't resist. It's interesting in the Gospel, it's very clear that the temple authorities sent a small army to arrest Jesus, why? Well, they assumed he would react like they would if somebody came to arrest them in the middle of the night, but Jesus was nothing like them. He was more than, he over-under reacted, he surrendered. And they beat him in they flog and they didn't flog him, they beat him and they mistreat him, and they accuse him of all kinds of stuff, and they have paid off witnesses, and Jesus just doesn't react. Eventually they take him to Pilate, you know the story, because they need permission from the Roman Governor to execute Jesus, and Pilate doesn't wanna execute Jesus. He kept saying, "Okay. Granted, you don't like him. Granted, he's offended you, Granted, he claims to be somebody that maybe he's not, but this isn't... This isn't worthy of a death sentence."

Pilate just could not understand, why do you hate this man so much, so Pilate in an attempt to at least save a little bit of Jesus life. Sends Jesus out to be flogged. And they're like, "No, we want you to crucify him." And Pilate is like, "Wait, you want me to crucify someone we just flogged. What is wrong with you people? What is it about this man you hate so much?" Then he calls Jesus in, And Pilate questions him. And Jesus won't answer his questions. And in this exchange, we get just a little bit of a clue as to why Jesus was able to over-under react. We catch a glimpse honestly, the perspective that he has invited us to adopt in far less extreme circumstances. Pilate says this, this is so powerful to me. He says, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Hey, look. Hey, Do You refuse to speak to me? Don't you realize who I am? Don't you realize I have the power to either free you or crucify You, do you not recognize I control the outcome of this situation? Look at me. Answer my questions."

But did he? Did Pilate really have the power to determine the outcome of the situation? If Jesus is... This is why this is so powerful. And again, I would never get up and suggest any of this to you if it was just based on my inside or my experience, because your experience for many of you is far... It's far more diverse. It's far more extreme. You've faced things, dealt with things I have never dealt with it, I probably will never deal with, so please do hear this coming from me. This is just what it means to follow Jesus. If Jesus believed that Pilate determined the outcome of his story, he would have reacted like everybody else reacts in this situation, he would have been begging for a quick death. But Jesus didn't see it that way. Jesus invites us not to see it that way, either. Jesus answered... This is so powerful. John had insiders, that's how we know this happened, Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." Now, when Jesus says this, Pilate's initial reaction or response or his instinct is, "Oh, you're trying to minimize me. You're basically saying, Pilate, you're just a Governor, the only reason you have any power over me is because of Rome, if it weren't for Rome... Hey, there's nothing special about you, Pilate, you're just another man, you're just another cog in the wheel, you're just another servant of the empire, you're not special. You just have power on loan from Rome."

But there was something about this man, there was something about the look in Jesus eyes, there was something about his peace, that unnerved Pilate, and Pilate realizes he's not talking about Rome, this fearless, courageous, irritating Rabbi is referring to a power that goes beyond Rome, beyond the Emperor, beyond the empire, and John tells us that in this moment, Pilate is now afraid of Jesus, because Pilate recognizes, "I may not have as much power as I think." From then on, the text tells us, from then on, he tries to set Jesus free, but he could not, because he did not have as much power as he thought he did. Jesus is crucified. You know that. [chuckle] Nobody would make this up.

He forgives his crucifiers on the spot, and on the other side of the resurrection, Peter who is so embarrassed by his reaction to Jesus arrest, Peter who fled, Peter writes a letter, actually dictates a letter to a group of Christians, here's what he writes, and remember, I'm not reading the Bible, okay, this isn't the Bible. I'm reading what Peter dictated about his own personal experience with Jesus, that was later included in what we call the Bible, and the reason I say that is not to discount the value of the Bible, I read it every single day, preach from it every single weekend, but I want you to put this in historical context because it's so powerful.

I don't want you to miss it. Because we look at the Bible and sometimes it's like a spiritual magic book. And Peter's like, "No, we're real people with real lives, and real fears and real concerns and real doubts, and here's my perspective on the other side of the resurrection, as embarrassed as I am by my reaction to Jesus arrest and crucifixion. Here's what Peter writes, he says, "When they hurled their insults at Him... " Peter was there for this. He saw this, "When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. Just like he had taught us for three years. When He suffered, He made no threats. Just like he taught us over and over and over, and we just didn't get it, because who does that, who responds that way? Who reacts that way? That's not the way the world works."

Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. Peter's like, "We finally got it. He never lived a day of his life assuming that anyone other than His Heavenly Father determined outcomes." See when I finally and in those moments when I pause long enough to do this, and I'm just as I believe me, I failed this so often, but in those moments where I get it right, when I'm willing to pause and decide that you don't control outcomes and circumstances don't ultimately control outcomes.

And being treated unjustly or unfairly, or being criticized that those people don't... When I entrust myself to my Heavenly Father who judges justly. Do you know what I'm then free to do? I'm free to respond to you, and to my accusers, and to those who've mistreated me, the way my Father in heaven responded and reacted to me, because in that moment, I take control away from the people that I'm tempted to believe, have control over my life. In those moments, in those moments, I'm... To embrace Jesus words, "I'm willing to acknowledge that, You know what? They have no power over me." But when we react and in like kind, when we react to people circumstances, you know what we do? We basically give them power and control over us, and these are the very people we don't wanna have power and control over us. We declare, they determine outcomes, they control our future, they're in charge. And Jesus invites us and instructs us to live as if that is not the case. Because look up here, that is not the case.

And after the resurrection, this becomes clear, suddenly everything Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, it's like, "Oh, this makes sense," but his invitation to love and serve an enemy just like he loved and served an enemy, just like he loved and served me. The invitation. This is the big one. Not to worry, not to worry. Finally, we understand why we shouldn't worry because God controls the outcomes. I don't need to worry, I don't need to empower my circumstances or the people around me with control, because God ultimately determines outcome, so I don't need to worry or Jesus, most oft-repeated command, "Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid." And he could have added, "Do not be afraid, even though there's something to be afraid of," because the thing you fear doesn't ultimately determine your destiny, and Jesus says, "When you can step back into this reality, you'll have the ability and in the margin to over-under react to the people and the circumstances around you because you are no longer empowering them with your future, your destiny, and potentially your legacy. "His invitation to embrace the habit of the over-under reaction made perfect sense after the resurrection, and to see slights and criticism, unjust, unkind.

His opportunity is to amaze and confound. It finally dawned on his first century followers, and I hope it dawns on me and I hope it dawns on you, that this... This is what it looks like to be Christian. This is what it looks like to follow Jesus, that we would be recognized. We would be recognized, not first and foremost by what we believe, that's what we always wanna lead with, "Here's what I believe, here's what I think," but we would be recognized first and foremost by our unusual reaction, our over-under reaction to criticism, circumstances, loss, even abandonment. So once again, I want us to practice the over-under reaction. This time we're gonna practice it out in the wild, I want you to keep practicing at home, right? But I want you to practice it at work and in the neighborhood, even with your neighborhood association, whoa, [laughter] that'll take a lot of faith, but you can do it. I know you can.

This is our opportunity, at work, and at school, extended family, you're frenemies. You have some frenemies, friends who aren't really friends. They just act like friends, they wanna be like you, but they can't be like you, or there's something going on, everybody smiles, even with them, So let's pre-decide. Here's what I want you to pre-decide, it's so power... Just try it for a week. Try it for a day. Just pre-decide, "He's not my Lord. She's not my Lord. The company I work for, they're not my Lord. These circumstances, it's not my Lord, even this illness, it's not my Lord, none of these people, none of these things determine outcomes for me."

So I'm not gonna respond in like kind, I'm not gonna grant them the privilege of lordship, instead I'm gonna love and serve, I'm gonna pray for, I'm gonna go the extra mile. Like my Savior King did for me, like our father in the heaven does for us, who loves and serves us, in spite of us, who loves and serves me in spite of me. To use Peter's words, I love this phrase, this part, I've just incorporated this to my personal prayer life, "To decide ahead of time that we're gonna entrust ourselves to him who judges justly." And so, because I'm entrusting myself to you, I don't have to react to them the way they deserve or the way they expect, so let's over-under react in a way that causes people to wonder, and perhaps over time, they'll begin to connect the dots between our unexpected reactions, and our father, our gracious Father in Heaven.

So one last time, what do your reaction say about your confidence in God? What do your reaction say about your confidence in God? And we will pick it up right there next time as we conclude, Reactions speak louder than words.

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