Taking Responsibility for Your Life

Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? The man said, ‘The woman whom you have to be with me, she gave me the fruit from the tree, and I ate.’    (Gen 3:11-13)

Recently I was asked to help resolve some serious conflicts between two colleagues. I planned to meet with them individually and then together.

In the first session, I asked the guy about the situation and he started to blame the other one. After 15 minutes of letting him vent, I asked, “What did you do to help create this mess?” He looked sheepish and said, “I made some mistakes. I could’ve handled myself better. I need to apologize and make some changes.”

I began the next session in the same way and this guy blamed the other one. After 15 minutes I asked, “What did you do to help create this mess?” He said, “Nothing. This mess is about him, not me. I’ve no regrets.”

Having a third session would’ve been a waste of time. I reported that these two guys might not be able to resolve their differences. I also suggested that the second one might need to move.

Why would any of us ever act like the second guy? Is it a lack of maturity? Accountability? Honesty? Integrity?

Since the Garden of Eden, there have been no innocent people. Although we all need forgiveness, do we actually know, accept, and seek it? Or do we feel like we’re above reproach?

God found Adam in today’s lesson with the juice of the forbidden fruit dripping off his chin. When God asked what was going on, Adam blamed both Eve and God. When the fall of mankind happened the blame-game started.

Please take a hard look at the conflicts in your relationships. Where are your fingerprints in the mess, your role in the brokenness, your responsibility in the separation?

These are some of the strongest words we can say: “I’m sorry.” “Please forgive me.” “I could’ve done better.” “Accept my apology.” “I claim my part in this mess.” “I will learn and make some changes.”

I encourage us to have the maturity, accountability, ego-strength, and faith to say these words. For our sake. For the sake of the other. For the sake of the relationship.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Have you ever blamed someone else and not taken any responsibility for the mess, the problems, or the brokenness in a relationship? If so, with whom? If so, why?
  1. Once you acknowledge that you haven’t always claimed your responsibility in a separation or conflict, do you need to go make amends with anyone? If so, when are you going to do so?
  1. How would your life change if you took full responsibility for your life and stopped playing the blame game?

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