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Luke 6:31 – And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
In Part 1, I quoted leadership author and speaker Stephen Covey as having said, “Accountability breeds response-ability”, and I said, “Being held accountable for our actions also means we will tend to have a better ability to respond, because we are expected to be prepared to give a response, which may also lead to having a better quality response (or at least it should).”
This quote also speaks to me, whether Mr. Covey meant it this way or not, about how that when we hold ourselves accountable, or are held accountable by others, we tend to take more responsibility for our actions. The action I want to focus on now is our reaction…the response– portion of the word responsibility.
In this post, I would like to list some specific areas that Christians face in day-to-day life where, if we are taking responsibility for our responses, we can and will have the proper response in any given situation.
When we think of the word responsibility, we tend to think of it in the sense of our proactive actions; as in taking responsibility for your business, taking responsibility for your family, taking responsibility for your finances, etc. Yet, there is another responsibility we must take; that being for how we respond to others…our reactive actions.
Taking Responsibility for Our Responses to Our Family
Family members are the people whom we see all the time and have a tendency to become very familiar, sometimes overfamiliar, with. Since this is the case, they can also be the ones who are most frequently on the receiving end of our shortcomings. Of course God never intended this to be the case, but He is also well able to help us ensure that our responses to our family members are of a more controlled and God-glorifying nature.
I’m not saying that when your child colors the wall with crayon and then blames the cat that you’re going to say “Oh, I’m completely okay with the fact that I have to spend time, effort, and money cleaning this up for the third time this month. Oh happy day!”, but what I am saying is that if our responses could use some help (and they probably could), and that if we would only take responsibility, not only for our actions, but also for our current responses, and seek God to help us have better responses, then He will certainly do His part, which is to do what we cannot do! If we will take this approach, the results will be far better than they have been to this point or could have been without His help.
Taking Responsibility for Our Responses to Authority
A lot of interactions with authority figures go badly very quickly because people simply do not have the right responses to the authority figure. This is the case whether it be with the boss at work, a police officer, a teacher, a Pastor, or anyone else who has been assigned a position of authority in our lives.
There may be times in your life where you will deal with someone in a position of authority who is not handling their position in a God-honoring way. They may use their position of authority to take advantage of people, show favoritism to their friends, while completely ignoring what you are doing for the company. What should you do? Jesus gives us a bit of advice on this topic when He says Matthew 5:44 …pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. The Apostle Paul follows suit by saying Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. And the Apostle Peter offers his seasoned advice by stating 1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
The best way to have the “right” answer in a “no-win” situation is to first make sure our own hearts are right with God because when our hearts are right with the Lord, then when we are shaken and rattled by someone else’s uncouth behavior, our reactions will be fitting for the moment, even if that reaction is to have no reaction at all. By doing this, Peter reminds us that we will “inherit a blessing”.
Seems pretty simple right? It’s easier said than done to be sure, but it’s very possible to be done with the help of the Lord! It is our responsibility to take the necessary steps of heart-preparation ahead of time. We do this in our daily lives by praying for those who give us a hard time. Doing so will help ensure that we do our part in those moments of truth that test our responses, and in so doing, God will be able to do His part! What is His part? It is to touch our hearts in the moment and to touch the hearts of the other people involved as well. He will do that only as an honor to us doing our part first! What part is that? It is to “pray for them which despitefully use you”, and if you’ll have patience and continue in Godliness, then God Himself will take care of the rest!
Taking Responsibility for Our Responses to God
I saved this one for last because, quite simply put, it is our responses to God that will ultimately determine our responses to everyone and everything else in life. If we find it difficult to properly respond to God when He is doing or allowing things we don’t like, then we will find it difficult to properly respond to others when they are doing or allowing things we don’t like. But, if we willingly and properly respond to God no matter what, then we will willingly and properly respond to others no matter what. It really is just that simple!
We are made in the image of God and it is from God that we receive all abilities to change and become the person we are created to be. This includes a person who takes responsibility for their actions and for their reactions.
You may have never been a person who has been able to properly control your reactions to other people and other things, but one thing I know is that God can make you that new creation He promised in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 by making you someone who does better control your reactions! He does this through your prayers, your obedience, and by providing opportunities for us to implement what we know we should do…It’s through Prayer and Implementation! Prayer and Implementation!
What do these opportunities, that He provides, look like? They will appear as situations you don’t like. See them for what they are…as opportunities for change, and you will find the change for which you are looking!
Closing Prayer: “Lord, I acknowledge my need to take responsibility for my actions and for my responses in life and I do that right now! I also ask You to do what only You can do and that is to change me from the person I currently am into someone who not only takes responsibility but who also implements having the right reactions when faced with an opportunity to do so. I want my life to represent and reflect more perfectly who You are, while I am in this life. Amen!”