Being Responsible

Responsibility is a funny thing. It’s one of those things that we laud, but sometimes we use it as a coverup for deeper problems.

Imagine: Your coworker is assigned to clean the restrooms at work. He doesn’t. You “assume responsibility” and clean it for him.

You seem like such a team player. In reality, your “responsibility” is masking his irresponsibility. You’ve just become an enabler for his poor choices.

Imagine: You are burning out because you’re stuck in a role that is extremely difficult for you to fill, a load that’s bigger and more difficult than you were ever intended or created to fill. But you are a “responsible person” so you stick it out with Herculean effort.

You seem like such a disciplined person. In reality, your “responsibility” is preventing you from taking care of your own body, investing in your family or friends, and being everything you could be to your team.

Sometimes we define “responsibility” as a “sense of guilt” or “obligation”. We feel a sense of guilt, then follow we through with a certain action in the name of responsibility.

I’m learning to redefine “responsibility”. Responsibility is not guilt but accountability.

As ridiculous as this may sound, I’ve often carried guilt for other people’s poor decisions. After all, is it not “responsible” to care for other people? The truth, however, is that your parents were responsible to raise you, and you are responsible to live your life. Your parents are accountable for how they raised you. You are accountable for how you live your life.

For you leaders, one day you will need to give an account for the souls of those you lead. Because you are accountable, they are also your responsibility.

Meanwhile, I will not give account for everyone else’s actions, decisions, or mistakes. I will give account for how I live my life and how I respond to God’s call and commands. That’s my responsibility.

Go forth in responsible accountability, not in irresponsible guilt. 🙂

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