Reacting to what you think are overreactions

If you think someone is overreacting, it is good to ask yourself the following questions, before you respond:

1.) Have I considered the possibility that I am underreacting?

2.) Have I really have gathered and understood all the necessary information behind their response? If I communicated my understanding of those facts with them, would they agree that I do have all the facts that are necessary and that my interpretation of my facts is accurate? If they do not think my interpretation is accurate, can I explain why they disagree with those facts, in a way that they would agree with? Do I really have all the details necessary to understand why they are responding the way they are responding? Have I asked them to fill me in on information that I need to understand the situation more accurately? Have I shared the way I am hearing their interpretation of the situation with them and have they agreed that is how they are interpreting the situation?

3.) Do they have a pattern of responding in exaggerated ways in other areas of their lives and in other situations? If not, what might that tell me about this situation? If there are several godly people responding in similar ways, what might that tell me about my perception of the situation?

4.) While there might be something inappropriate about their response that needs to be addressed, what can I learn about them and what they are hearing and experiencing by the way they are responding and how should that inform the way I relate and respond to them? If they are feeling a certain way, and I know they are feeling a certain way, how would that impact the way I communicate necessary truths to them? Have I thought about how to make knowledge more acceptable?

5.) What possible good reasons might they have for responding in the way they are responding? What genuine areas of concern is their reaction pointing out? And, before I address what I perceive to be the sinful responses, have I done all I can to make sure I am addressing the problems their responses are pointing out? And do they know that?

6.) Is their perceived overreaction a way of questioning whether or not I am for them or a sign of frustration that they are not being heard? Have I done all I can to address that concern? What can I do to make sure they know they have been heard? How can I speak that will communicate I take them seriously?

7.) Have I shared my perception of how they are responding in such a way with them that they are free to critique that perception? Have I listened to their critique in order to learn? Is that obvious to them?

8.) Have I prayed that God would open my eyes to any potential blind spots and have I asked them to point out blind-spots that they see in the way I am understanding the situation?

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