Boundaries of Responsibility

“In so far as your own responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18, J.B. Phillips translation)

The Apostle Paul shares a great truth about responsibility in this great verse about reconciliation. There is a place where our responsibility begins and there’s a point at which it ends. God does not hold us responsible for that over which we have no control. We can’t control that person who is alienated from us. But we can control the reality that we are at peace with him or her.

A Christian psychologist wrote that if our serenity depends on what our adolescent children are going to do, or not do, our serenity is very fragile. We experience a great deal of emotional pain because we do not accept the boundaries of our responsibilities.

A former mentor of mine said: “You cannot control the weather or rainy days but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you. You cannot control the height that your head will be from the sidewalk but you can control the height of the contents of your head.” After sharing several more examples of this, he continued, “Why worry about the things you cannot control? Accept responsibility for the things that do depend on you.”

Your responsibility begins with what you can control; you are at peace with all the people in your life. Your responsibility ends with what you cannot control – like whether or not they are at peace with you. You will have more personal peace when you accept that responsibility boundary.

3 Responses to Boundaries of Responsibility

  1. Rob Smith says:

    Dick, I’ve been thinking about what “integrity” means. I think it has something to do with resting in the grace of God and not feeling the need to venture outside that security, when pressed hard by difficult forces. Maybe it means God and man “integrated”. Rob Smith

  2. Alana Stulen says:

    When I try in my selfish motives I come out feeling rejection and sometimes failure, but when I live in the knowledge that Christ is in me and I am being used by Him, I have confidence to be part of the the Body and the work. If I am turned down, I still know I am accepted and Christ gives me confidence to accept His will and not see it as rejection. I hope to grow in understanding of what my responsibilties are and to do it. Thank you for the encouragement.

  3. […] from Boundaries of Responsibility by Dick […]

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