Saturday, May 11, 2013


We as Christians have personal responsibility for our own actions.  That should be a given to us, but it seems it isn't at all. I might add that we're not responsible, [except in special circumstances] for any other person's actions but our own.

That personal  responsibility is why our will being free in all things involving us is so very important.

 [Which is also why cultic-type relationships are, at best UNHEALTHY, and at worse DANGEROUS whether in a marriage or otherwise.

Our responsibility is only for our decisions and actions in response to those things said and done, with our best interest and KINGDOM PRINCIPLES IN MIND.

By implication, this means, as mentioned, that other people do not have responsibility or power over us, contrary to popular opinion, and should not have. [Except in special circumstances.]  Our popular wrong opinion about this is evidenced by our talk. We often say, "they [Whomever they might be] made me do that," or "They made me feel this way."

But,"They" don't "make" us "feel" any way or "cause" us to "do" any thing. [Even though we're masters at convincing ourselves they do.]  Our "actions"are ours because of OUR OWN WILL and flowing from that will, is our behavior. Just as true is that what we "feel" is a result of and because of, OUR OWN WAY OF THINKING. "For as a person thinks in his heart, [mind] so is he.." [In his actions and feelings]: Prov. 23:7

"They" [Whomever they might be] may present us with challenges, which do require decisions in responding and renewed thinking for sure. But the responsibility for our actions or our thinking is OURS ALONE.

This is important for many reasons, but one reason is a relational one.  Suppose we think when we do or say something that we believe is nice and good, that others should appreciate. But they don't!  This surprises us and makes us angry. [We think.]  In fact, we could get down and depressed, and even  decide to cut them off RELATIONALLY.

So we wind up thinking and feeling the part of a "victim." [If they had just______ I'd be alright. It's their fault we don't relate.] Then we've shirked any personal responsibility for our own actions and feelings entirely.

It's called the blame game. It didn't help in the garden of Eden and it won't help in our relational garden either. THAT'S NOT GOOD!

[We're not speaking here of situations that would be illegal, immoral, abusive, controlling, thus, unbiblical. That's a different story and another post entirely].

Here is the point in my saying all this.

The scripture indicates that in everything we are "more than conquerors" rather than "victims."But this assumes two things to be our experience. One is that Christ has become our our life, by faith.  [That's becoming a Christian.] THAT'S VERY GOOD.

The other is that, because He is our life, we are a new creation and are empowered by faith to do and be that new person, responsibly. [That's being the Christian we're become.]  THAT'S VERY VERY GOOD!

Paul B.  


Aussie John said...


Usually, at around 5.30 a.m. I log onto your site. It's become a treasure trove which I value very much.

This morning, I'm a bit late, but, again I'm so blessed to read the challenge contained within; that of the often used, and nebulous "they" and the connection to personal responsibility.

It's of the same order of immaturity which many Christians display when avoiding responsibility for what they believe.

Forgive my memory if I repeat myself, but a stand out example of this was at a conference in a church I visited in New Jersey. Over the course of the week I asked several people why they believed what they did regarding several matters of doctrine, etc.

The invariable answer was "The pastor says....".

What a joy it is (even when I think they're wrong) to hear someone take responsibility when they say, "I believe ..........because the Scriptures say......!

Will you please scratch my itch? What prompts you to write on such disparate matters?

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Honestly, I have various reasons for the topic selection and none of them very "spiritual" in the usual use of that word.

One is I just have an itch myself and address it.

Another is I hear something said or written as if it's "Divine" truth and I have a reaction and write about it.

Sometimes it is just something I see being debated and I weigh in for what, if anything, I might think may be worth.

Sometimes, very rarely, I have a sense I'm supposed to and take that as a nudge from the Spirit.

In it all I have a sense of freedom to write about what I choose without fear of missing God at all. The Father, I believe, delights in our creativity. It just shows we're a "chip off the old block" in a sort of odd, but normal for my way of thinking, way.

Aussie J, I feel as if you are cut from the same clothe or mold, as shown by your comments, for good or bad, and it sure gives me a kinship with you.

Thanks for commenting.

Bob Cleveland said...

This post is super! But then it's one of the things I'd agree with most, any day.

I've thought this for years. Since 1963, in fact; I can remember the day I realized I was solely responsible for how I acted. And it calls to mind a couple episodes in my life, one of which I shall recount.

I went to our local high school one evening; they were having a non-credit adult sort of one-night workshop covering several practical things for parents. Mental health, accounting & taxes, and I was to handle insurance. Well .. nobody came, so the 3 of us "instructors" stood talking. I shared this view .. that we were solely responsible for our actions and attitudes, and we could, for real, control them. The accountant-type guy said "I don't think we can really do that".

Before I could respond, the mental health officer for the county said "Yes we can, but if everybody did that, I'd be out of a job".

Amen, to him and your post.

Paul Burleson said...


GREAT comment and I'll remember the story for a long time and will probably use it periodically Good stuff.


Bob Cleveland said...


I don't think the devil wants us to realize this, either. I used to have a bad temper, but I recall reading a book that said what you've said here: nobody "makes us" feel or respond any certain way. How we act and feel and respond are solely our decisions. So I decided as I was reading that, that I'd never ever get "mad" again.

The NEXT DAY .. I was sitting at my desk and one of our field reps who disagreed with an underwriting decision I'd, came up to me and went off like a Roman candle! He ranted and raved, name-called, etc. I sat there .. felt like my insides were crawling around .. but just held my tongue and kept answering him calmly. He eventually got so mad his fists were quivering and he actually turned purple in the face.

Finally, he just left. And I sat there, kind of seething inside, until the file clerks started coming by my desk .. it was in an open office of perhaps 75 people .. and telling me how much they admired the fact that I had held my temper, and continued to speak in a civil manner. After about the fourth one walked over, and the folks sitting at desks around me said the same things, I figured "Hey .. this keeping your temper really works."

The guy that had yelled and screamed came back later, apologized, and bought me lunch.

That was the same month JFK was assassinated, and I've just persisted in that attitude ever since.

Guess what. It works.

As a p.s. to the prior comment, the CPA said it wasn't good to keep all that anger in. I told him it's really OK if you never let it in, in the first place.