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There’s an old saying that life is 10% what people do to us and 90% how we respond. It’s so easy to react aesthetically to what people do and say to us. If they’re ugly to us, we get ugly with them. If they’re nice to us we are nice to them. This kind of living puts us at the mercy of the words of others. It makes us puppets, with them controlling the temperatures of our responses and holding our peace hostage. How we respond to others says more about us then it does them. We can’t let them change who we are.

Pausing and not reacting is the battlefield of adulthood. From social media to real life, people are always ready to offend. We don’t always need to respond to everything or evyerone. I’m learning to pause, listen to the voice of peace and wait for a purposeful response. It feels unnatural, sometimes weird. If someone says something, you say something back and you match their intensity; you prove them wrong. If they’re coming for you, you come for them. But when we’re ready to live a life that fosters inner peace, we have to tame the clap-back beast within us. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary and empowering.

I’d like my responses to be purposeful. Sometimes that means saying nothing or speaking peace in response to an accusation or an insult. People will talk about you and say things about you that aren’t true. If you spend your life arguing with them, you’ll have no time to live the life you deserve. Your name will always be in someone’s mouth, but the key to peace and productivity is to keep the word of God in our hearts, not in a corny, religious way but in a real way, where the desire to grow is more important than the need to be right or verbally hit back. Even in those times when we do respond, let’s respond from a place of peace not our emotions. I’m always encouraged when I remember Jesus going to the cross; he was physically and verbally assaulted. Yet, he said nothing. What people thought was shame and an end to his work, was the beginning of God’s greatest work. Imagine if we just surrendered our responses and let God do His work, just how powerful we would be.

We have to get to the point in our lives where what God says about us is more important than what others think about us. We have to pause and wait to see how He wants us to respond. The wrong responses keep us sidelined by drama and distractions where we’re no good to ourselves or anyone else. We can’t live our lives constantly engaged in verbal wars. Sometimes we gotta just let people say what they want and focus on becoming that person God is developing us to be. We have to hold our peace and leave those battles to God. That’s the best clap-back.