When you feel like saying something
That you know you will regret,
Or keenly feel an insult
Not quite easy to forget,
That’s the time to curb resentment
And maintain a mental peace,
For when your mind is tranquil
All your ill thoughts simply cease.

It’s easy to be angry
When defrauded or defied,
To be peeved and disappointed
If your wishes are denied;
But to win a worthwhile battle
Over selfishness and spite,
You must learn to keep strict silence
Though you know you’re in the right.

So keep your mental balance
When confronted by a foe,
Be it enemy in ambush
Or some danger that you know.
If you are poised and tranquil
When all around is strife,
Be assured that you have mastered
The most vital thing in life.

– “Stay Calm” by Grenville Kleiser

Then you need to get a handle on your “response ability”!

Our response ability (that is, the art of composure in confrontation) says a lot about our emotional maturity, our powers of self-control, and the sincerity of our devotion to Christ. The way we hold ourselves in difficult situations often reveals the inner woman: is she a collected sage, or a prattling fool?

We should all ask ourselves from time to time, “what is my response ability?” Taking an honest look at our reactions (and adjusting them if need be) is sanctifying. Today, I want to share three points for self-evaluation. Firstly, if I aim to level-up my response ability, then I need to look into…

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. – Proverbs 15:28

Pondering how to answer takes time, while pouring out evil things takes no time at all. The former is the higher and nobler path, but the latter is the path of least resistance. Any fool can rant and rave in record response time, but a wise woman takes her time in formulating a response. She may even remain silent (as Jesus did before His accusers) if she perceives the conversation to be going nowhere fast. If and when she does respond, it won’t be a lightning strike, but a slow and steady rainfall. A woman of response ability is ordered and methodical, not impetuous and hysterical.

Ask yourself these questions to test your response times:

Check your response times in order to know your response ability!

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. – James 1:19-20

Secondly, if I aim to level-up my response ability, then I need to look into…

And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever. – Isaiah 32:17

Quietness and confidence…what a pair. The Bible calls this winning combination the “service of righteousness”. To be quiet and confident simultaneously – it is the perfect blend of standing your ground while keeping your dignity. Most people will applaud confidence, but reject quietness both in themselves and others. The quality of quietness may be underrated by mankind, but it is applauded by God. In fact, He calls the quality of a gentle and quiet spirit in a woman “imperishable”, and “precious” in His sight. (1 Peter 3:4) I’d rather be His kind of lady than a loud-mouth schnook any day of the week!

Ask yourself these questions to test your response tones:

Check your response tones in order to know your response ability!

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

Lastly, if I aim to level-up my response ability, then I need to look into…

Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness. – Ecclesiastes 10:12-13

This proverb hits the bullseye! Once we allow our lips to take the reigns in heated conversation (as opposed to our spirit), the word-garbage just keeps flowing until we are in a messy heap of our own making. No matter the temptation to “sock it to ’em” and “give ’em what for”, we must filter the words we say…even to the vilest recipient. We Christian women offer words of grace to contentious people – not because they are loving, but because we are. Slow response times and quiet response tones go a long way in aiding gracious response terms.

Ask yourself these questions to test your response terms:

Check your response terms in order to know your response ability!

And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. – 1 Peter 2:23

In conclusion…

When evaluating your response ability, ask yourselves these three vital questions:

How are my response times? How are my response tones? How are my response terms?

In the face of opposition, remember this: it is my responsibility to better my response ability. Don’t stoop to the level of those who have no response ability of their own. Keep your cool and stand tall no matter the refuse being hurled at you, because…

…composure allays great offenses. – Ecclesiastes 10:4b

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.