Toxic Environments call for surprise responses.
What have you done lately that was a surprise to people that hurt you?
Is there a differentiating factor between the way we react to toxic environments.
Here we see Jesus in the most toxic environment any of us could ever imagine and his response is completely surprising. When was the last time we responded surprisingly to the toxicity around us.
We can’t always change our environment, but we can adjust our response.
Our response is an indicator of our maturity.
Surprise responses are the number one indication that your life is different. Your response to toxic environments might very well be the best witnessing tool you are not using right now. Your response is your witness. Not your church attendance, not you’re giving statement, not your Jesus fish on the back of your car. My response is my witness and surprise responses make the best witnesses.
If Jesus allowed his environment to dictate His response, He would not be different.
SO I will respond based on His example not my environment.
How To Surprise In Toxic Environments
1. It starts internally.
Matt 26:39 – 39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
The heart behind your response will always be able to be read.
You have to decide how you are going to respond to gossip before you have the toxic conversations.
You have to decide where you are not going to on the weekends because you know how toxic the environments can get in certain settings.
When you have internally won the battle against toxic environment, you can then surprise people with your external response. Internal purity comes from time spent at the refinery.
You cannot spiritual respond if you have not yet spiritually prepared.
What I have found is that we get what we pray for. We get what we prepare for. We are perfectly designed to respond according to how we have prepared. If I am not internally prepared, I will be externally weak the moment I am faced with a toxic situation.
Peter chops off a guys ear. Jesus responds differently. Because while Jesus was praying, Peter was sleeping. Jesus doesn’t bring a sword to a toxic fight, he brings His healing power.
We wonder why we are always apologizing to Jesus for waiving a sword around, it is because we are sleeping when we should be praying. And fighting when we should be loving.
You will pull out your sword at the wrong time if you have been asleep.
2. It expresses itself vocally.
47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.
50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you oh God.
I can tell a lot about someones pain by what they do with their lips. Do they bless or curse? Do they bring life or death?
I refuse to allow my environment to dictate my vocabulary.
Your environment should not dictate your vocabulary.
While everyone else was talking about who the messiah was, He was out there doing what the messiah was supposed to do.
Because our environment has such an influence on our vocabulary, we have to make sure we are putting ourselves in places where our vocabulary is not in jeopardy.
Learning to use the right words at the right time during toxic situations can be the distinguishing factor for you. Your witness is found in your words. The world is watching our words during the toxic times.
3. It distinguishes itself practically.
Luke 22:51New Living Translation (NLT)
51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
Its one thing to talk, but it is a new level of response when you can touch. I have to be willing to touch the toxic areas that we are called to effect with surpass doses of healing and power. Surprises are not found in the natural inventory of our spirit. We have to practice the practical art of surprising people with surprise responses.
Even when you have the right to ignore the wrong around you, be the person that does something about it.