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A Tool When The Conversational Temperature Heats Up.

The following is from Shifting Perspectives, Jesus Through a Leadership Lens.

Fascinating to see a calming technique that Jesus used in a challenging conversation.

Know When To Walk Away

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue

with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from

heaven to prove his authority.

When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these

people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give

this generation any such sign.” So he got back into the boat and left them, and

he crossed to the other side of the lake.

(Mark 8:11–13)

THESE THREE VERSES cut to the essence of the relationship Jesus had with the Pharisees. Picture this: Jesus had just finished healing a deaf man and was facing crowds of people. He also had fed the four thousand and cleaned up before getting into a boat with His disciples to go to the region of Dalmanutha. He’d spent a full day facing thousands of people and performing amazing miracles.

And then as He arrived in Dalmanutha, the Pharisees were waiting to bait Him, to test Him and try and to start an argument.

In verse 12, we can observe His actions:

1. He listened.

2. He took a deep breath in His Spirit.

3. He replied concisely.

4. He left.

That’s all we get. Think about the progression of how Jesus handled this situation, which held the potential for great conflict and heated words that couldn’t be taken back.

These four points give us a framework for how to react when tensions and emotions are high and we feel triggered. We all know that feeling: our gut tightens, our neck gets stiff, our shoulders rise, we swallow, our heart races, our fists clench, our face begins to feel warmer… We want to straighten everything out right away. You could say we are reactionary.

Jesus didn’t react. He responded. He didn’t ignore the situation or the heat of it, but He took the time to lower the temperature and make sure the environment was one in which He could be heard. Then he let the Pharisees have the freedom to choose their next step.


1. Revisit a touchy situation you’ve faced, or one you’re currently facing.

How would these four concepts work for you to enable you to move

from being reactionary to responsive?

2. What does practicing these four concepts look like in your present


3. As a leader, what triggers your emotions and causes you to react rather

than respond?

4. How might you adopt this four-point response the next time you face

hostility, accusations, or unfair judgments?

5. Who will you choose to walk with you in learning to respond more

often than you react?

To order your copy of Shifting Perspectives, Jesus Through a Leadership Lens


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