We are probably more responsive today than ever before, partly because we now have the tools to respond publicly to anyone or anything, and at any time we see fit. We can post, like, tweet, and retweet, and we are delighted to do so. We love to respond. No, we need to respond. Don’t we?
Sometimes a response is appropriate. Tragic and heartbreaking events happen, and seem to be happening at an increasing rate. It can be good and right for Christians to respond in a timely, grace-filled, and truthful manner. But our compulsion to respond runs much deeper than pivotal events in society and culture.
What drives this need to respond to even the smallest of things? What fuels our itchy tweeting fingers and twitching lips? What drives our desire to have the last word? Though we might talk ourselves into believing in our own rightness and therefore the right to defend ourselves, our need to respond more likely comes from our inflated ego and our continuing need to justify ourselves.
Our Felt Need to Respond
You know the feeling. Someone brings something against you — an accusation, a criticism, a rebuke. They do something, say something, or insinuate something, and you, in return, feel compelled to return fire. It’s a burning down deep in your gut. I must respond.
Unfortunately, when our response comes, it’s often part and parcel with what has just been dealt to us. If it was anger, we respond in anger. If criticism, we respond with criticism of our own. If accusation, we respond with defensiveness. Whatever the case, we respond in kind.