The other day I had a situation which provoked me. I’m guessing I’m not alone here and you too know something about provocation. I could go on and write about the encounter but it’s not necessary for you to know “the who” or “the why”, nor is it helpful. Irritating people just irritate me.  (There’s a brainy quote for you.) I settled into my thinking chair, put my ear buds on to shut out the noise and transformed my lugubriousness (someone owes me 10 dollars. I told you I would use it in a sentence) into an opportunity for reflection on being provoked.  What do I do when I’m provoked? Sometimes, I get flushed with chemicals and I provoke back and sometimes I don’t. I merely take the brunt of the provocateur, warranted or not. But it’s always my choice how to respond.  I remember the brilliant observation Viktor Frank made, “between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response…” In the quiet time I realize I limit the definition of the word provoke to mean causing someone to become annoyed or angry. But that’s my conditioned and learned perspective.  Provoke can mean to call forth or challenge. Like it says in Hebrews 10:24.  Contemporary Turkish playwright, Mehmet Murat ildan writes, “Be a provocateur! Provoke people to think! Provoke sleepers to awake! Provoke slaves to revolt against their masters! Provoke everyone to gain control over their fates unchecked! Provoke the lonely to participate the crowds and provoke the crowds to visit the loneliness! Be a provocateur! Provoke people to cross the bridges so that they can see the other side!”

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 10:24
“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.”

Reflection Questions:
Who provokes you?
How do you handle being provoked?
How are you provoking others to love and good deeds?

Prayer: Holy God, let me provoke others in the right ways and for the right purposes – doing good deeds and sharing love with those I meet this day and those who share in my life. Amen.