Fight, flight, and appeasement

By Dave Henning / July 25, 2014

In Chapter 4 (“I Fought the Law- and the Law Won”) of One Way Love, author Tullian Tchividjian revisits his earlier statement that when we lay down the law, exercise control, or offer “constructive” criticism, it’s an illusion to believe that real change will happen:

“The law may have the power to instruct and expose, but it does not have the power to inspire or create.”

Pastor Tchividjian astutely observes that when we encounter some type of accusation from another person (aka “judge”), the gap between who we are and who we should be always will produce a reaction.  It never is neutral.  The three most common response strategies are fight, flight, and appeasement.

1.  Fight.  The judge isn’t leaving anytime soon, and neither are you.  Up go the dukes.  Every interaction becomes a power struggle.  You always keep your guard up.  But. by nature the law is bigger than you are.  The law will win every time.

2.  Flight.  You may leave the scene of your ministry downsizing or vocation loss.  You may walk the other direction when you encounter those responsible for your loss.  In other words, because the judge isn’t going anywhere- you will!

3.  Appeasement.  This probably is the most popular path.  We beg and plead with the judge and try to show that judge how we are trying to correct the problem.  We buy into the delusion that we have the capability to silence or reason with the judge’s voice of demand.

As Tullian explains in the next blog, the problem with fight, flight, and appeasement is that they don’t work.

Today’s question: Which response strategy most accurately describes your immediate reaction to your vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Abundant grace”

About the author

Dave Henning

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