Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Conditioned response describes a person’s reaction to stimuli or situations. Those of you who watch The Office are probably already thinking about Jim Halpert’s famous prank on Dwight involving Altoids.
Conditioned response is also used in defense training. It’s developed through training and repetition. With enough preparation, a person can automatically respond to life-threatening situations with optimum safety and precision, regardless of inevitable panic. It’s basically autopilot for extreme situations.
God expects us to develop a conditioned response, too. He described it (through Paul) in I Corinthians 4.11-13.
Our conditioned response to physical beatings: nothing (4.11). Paul was punched a few times and likely did nothing in retaliation. Context reinforces this understanding of his silence on the subject.
Our conditioned response to being insulted should be to compliment the offender (4.12). If not verbally, we should mentally wish them only the best and mean it.
Our conditioned response to harassment should be acceptance with patience (4.12). Our conditioned response to character defamation should be gentle appeal (4.13).
This doesn’t come naturally at all. We’re taught to stand up for ourselves and not let people run over us! There’s a time and place for self-defense, but those times are, thankfully, quite rare.
What better way to show we genuinely love people than instinctively responding the way Paul did? Jesus made that a part of who He was, and we get eternal life because of it. We can actually help others find eternal life by instinctively reacting with love!