In physics, Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion is, “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.” Strangely enough, I remember my middle school science teacher using the example of a subway straphanger. “If the train sways to the right,” He said, “you automatically go to the left; if it sways left, you automatically go right.”
“Okay,” I thought to myself. “This is simple enough to prove.” I couldn't wait to see if it were true. I got on the subway, and sure enough, when the train swayed to the right, I automatically swayed left, and vice versa.
Like the subway test, this theory also works in the motions of everyday life. Yet, it does not necessarily have to work when it comes to speech. Every verbal statement does not require an equal and opposite reaction. Some verbal responses are simply unnecessary. If you are trying to start a rough and tumble fight, Newton is the place to start; simply incorporate Newton’s third law of motion to fuel the energy you need to ignite a tiny spark into a full-blown flame. It is like the verbal street game The Dozens, a game where the participants berate one another in front of an audience to see who has the verbal acumen to destroy the other.
As we grow in our Christian walk, we will realize that not every verbal attack deserves a response. That’s not to say you cannot respond, or that you do not have an arsenal of responses to give; it’s simply that you choose not to respond. It is where you select your words so wisely, it does not fuel the embers of what could become a roaring fire. It is where the other person calls you a name other than your given name, or says something not to your liking, and you simply do not respond. You allow the other person to own their own words, owning what they've said to you, not your response.
In today’s verse, the condemnation is not to Jesus, the condemnation belies the Pharisees, chief priests, elders, and other members of the Sanhedrin who were His verbal accusers. We know that in today’s vast technological climate of instant communication, we can receive a response to any query in an instance; however, we must remember, like Jesus, there are times when we will offer the greatest and loudest response—with silence. L.
Study Reference: Matthew 27:1-14
From: "An Unequal Reaction." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell