Responsibility (Romans 14:12-13; Galatians 6:1-5; Eph. 6:21; 1 Peter 4:10-11) means to know and do what God, and others, expects of us. The Christian is called to remain steadfast with honesty, and then when we do something wrong, we own up to it, admit our wrong, and do all that we can to fix the problem we caused and the relationships that have been hurt. Responsibility shows us the need to guard our weakness.
Blame and Reproach are the opposites; this is where we hide from our wrong deeds, refusing to acknowledge our wrong. This further exasperates when we engage in blaming others for our mistakes. This causes undue liability to the Body of Christ, and produces an atmosphere of distrust and accusations.
Responsibility implies accountability! It is a very dangerous approach to life to refuse to be accountable or responsible. I find it very interesting how Enron and the various other American companies that have falsified their accounting records and reporting, defrauded countless thousands of people for years and nobody seemed to care until it all unraveled. Only then did anyone cry, "Foul!" The Enron tactics were considered standard business practices, and were taught in many MBA programs, including the one I was in many years ago. Dishonest gain in the eyes of the world is OK as long as you do not get caught. So, the business gurus and heroes of the 80s and 90s, who were once regarded as extremely successful and wise, are now considered shameful and foolish. Yet, because it failed, people cry fraud!
Responsibility demands that we take character seriously. So, when we are Responsible, we do not go into the "blame game." Responsibility is needed more now than ever before. Our culture is in conflict with Responsibility because no one values it, yet they insist on it when it affects them. Just watch the news, and see how the reporters attack people with no character, even though they may not have it themselves. The recent attacks on the Catholic Church are a prime example. Priests are leaving the church by the dozens--most because of unfounded accusations (yes the Catholic church is guilty of criminal behavior by moving predatory priests around instead of stepping them down!). Just by having a rumor against you will often cause you to lose your position. A year ago, government officials, and the rest of the business world, because of its "creative" business practices, celebrated Enron. Today, it is loathed because of those same practices! Once they worked, now they do not. Once it was OK, now it is not. As if character once absent was not sought, as if once not needed, now it is needed! It is always better to have someone mature who knows you well to hold you accountable.
Is the Character of Responsibility working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Responsibility from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
How do I exhibit Responsibility in my daily life?
What can I do to develop a mindset to accept what I do and take responsibility for it, even if it hurts?
What blocks me from being Responsible?
How can I make Responsibility function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
- How would you define Responsibility? Are you a person who refuses to own up to your deeds? Do you take Responsibility for your failures too?
- What are the things that cause you to blame others?
- How does blame counteract Responsibility?
- What happens to our relationships with God and others, when we refuse to take Responsibility for our actions?
- When have you been filled with Responsibility the most?
- In what situation did you fail to own up to your deeds, when you should have?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with being more Responsible?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Responsibility into action in a specific instance. Consider examples such as, how would Responsibility improve your integrity and reputation at work and at church? What about how you deal with family members? What do you need to do to realize that your actions have consequences when you fail to act godly?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 41:37-45; Ruth 1:11-13; Esther 4:13-17; Matt. 25:14-23)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Gen. 3: 8-13; 4:8-10; 25:29-34; Ex. 32:21-24; Matt. 27:24-25)
Character is like exercise. We cannot just get fit with occasional sweat and the "burn," because we have to be constant, as it is with anything in the spiritual life.
© 2002, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org