“Many of society’s problems at this time appear to be caused by people’s rights being abused. As a result, we are almost totally rights oriented. The Scriptures, however, speak far more about responsiblities than about rights. According to Scripture, if people concentrated on their responsibilities, others would have their rights.” ~ Stuart Briscoe, What Works When Life Doesn’t …
Most societies of today are almost entirely rights focused–looking externally at how the world and others are making their lives worse, instead of looking internally at what responsibilities are necessary from them to make the world a better place. Honestly, we need not turn far to find some individual or group yelling about how their rights are being abused. But the simple truth is that “if people concentrated on their responsibilities, others would have their rights.”
So what are our responsibilities? The jobs, duties, and tasks that require our attention and need to be completed? The choices and decisions of those in our care or who we love? We often get to feeling that everything is our responsibility–that we are supposed to be involved in everything and let our thoughts, feelings, and our ways of managing situations be forced on others. But this perspective does not respect that we are all unique and individual souls, separate from one another, yet one through our common bonds of humanity and spirituality. And it is often the cause of a lot of stress, grief, anger, and unhappiness in life, not just to us but to all those around us. Most of us have seen or know of a micromanager–someone who not only does their job but also tries to tell everyone else how to do theirs down to the smallest of details.
But this philosophy is not a “live and let live” approach to life, but rather a “live and tell others how to live.” One that downplays the unique importance of the authentic contributions we each have to share, and prevents us from traveling down our own individual paths of life. And this often leaves us fearful of angering others or triggering retaliation, or of being laid off or fired; or afraid of causing the withdrawal of affection, attention, and love of those who are important to us.
How often do we make it our own responsibility to help others out–at home in our families, at school, or in the office? How often do we tell others how to take care of their own responsibilities? Do we get in the way of others–even if we have the best of intentions or only with to protect them, support them, or help them to learn? The truth is that we all have our own responsibilities to take care of and that should be enough. And when we tell others how to take care of their own responsibilities we interfere with their happiness and make a mess of their paths in life.
Try not to direct the affairs of others if it be unnecessary or at all possible.
Questions to consider:
What causes people to want or need to interfere in the lives of others instead of taking care of their own responsibilities?
How often do you find yourself telling others how they should do things under the guise of “advice?”
How is telling others how to deal with their responsibilities or how to live their lives, taking away their rights?
For further thought:
“Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible–controlling that which we cannot–and instead, focus on what is possible–which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.” ~ Melody Beattie, More Language of Letting Go