Can We Be a Non-Reactive Vessel? by Chris Norman

Why is Glass used for lab work?

It's an odd enough question, but walk through this with me. Since the early 19th century, glasses have been a major component of science and medicine, and why wouldn't they be? Glass is thermally insulated to withstand high heat and deep cold. If the reaction happening inside is a visual one, most lab glasses are clear or opaque so as not to obscure the reaction. Most importantly, glass is chemically inert so that it doesn't add or take away from the reaction.

It helps me to think in analogies; I like a little visual storytelling to stand alongside my conversation. 

So my question is this: can we be like the glass component of a reaction between God and the people around us? Further still, how do we remain non-reactive amidst our frustrations and pain?

I believe we can achieve this clarity (glass pun) through the renewal of our minds. The verse that we often run to within this idea of transformation is Romans 12 and the renewal of our mind that the apostle Paul assures us is in God's will for us. I also like to look into the second letter Paul sent to Corinth.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 3, we read:

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV 

The word used in this verse is definitely glory, but, oddly enough, it could also mean opinion, judgment, or view. This is where the glass analogy comes full circle. 

We all know or are familiar with the idea that we live in a 'culture of offense', that people struggle against what they see or hear without always having a 'dog in the fight'. I don't for a second believe that followers of Christ are any more exempt from it than anyone else. What we are, though, is to be lead by Him, and to allow His Glory—Christ's own opinion—to direct our steps and our voice.

For those of us who work in an environment with multiple bosses, there is nothing more relieving than to adopt the stance of the highest authority, gone is the argument from your plate. Though we may still have to talk it through, there isn't any real worry of having to uphold or defend a point; the highest authority will eventually win.

What voice, what authority, then, is higher than God's own?

Our speech is one of the best ways we can ensure that we "keep clear", so to speak, and avoid negatively shifting those around us. By using the clear tools of truth and love, we can keep our tongues and hearts in check.

More specifically, to be transformed into a non-reactive vessel might even mean not reacting. When dealing with those around us, it's not unusual to struggle to give others the benefit of the doubt. How late it is in the day, our time at work, or even the number of cups of coffee we've consumed (be honest, it happens) can all be like filters that shove our perspective further from the grace and love that we know Christ wants all creation to see. How wonderful, then, for Romans 14 to give us the go ahead to NOT ENGAGE some people?! Rather than take the Truth of God to every fight and conversation, it's wiser just to love some people, keep the peace God has given us and allow the Holy Spirit to work on the hearts of someone who may be more resistant to our own voice.

In short, I'm strongly standing on this place of reasoning, that we as Christians find our strength in Christ being seen through us and in every interaction we are a part of. Allow me to encourage you to let Him shine in your thoughts, spill from your tongue, and in everything, keep your heart and mind clear as glass.