I’m in a period of reflection in terms of what I stand for — what I often write about — and what I actually deliver as a human being alive for such a time as this.
I write about high standards, and these standards reflect the measure of Christ. It’s discipleship or living for the glory of God. But so often in striving to live this way over the past 15 – 20 years, to be just and fair, I’ve not ascended to these heights, and it’s those who know me best who know this. I’m not as bad as some might have represented me in the past, but equally, I’m not as good as many people think I am, either.
This period of life isn’t just about navel-gazing. Neither is this article. There’s something more important at stake for each of us.
The object of life is the integrity of humility — to discharge what we’re personally responsible and inevitably accountable to do. All we can control in any given situation is our own response, but by the same token, we’re all responsible and inevitably accountable for doing just that.
We can’t blame others if we don’t respond well when our emotions and pride boil over and we weren’t “able” to “respond” appropriately.
If we don’t personally respond well, we’re accountable for restitution of the matter, and where there’s a pattern of such behavior, it ought to cause us to look more deeply within. It’s an invitation to humility. That, or we don’t grow, and we’re a burden to others, and that’s never good.
Now, I know that there are times when others can cause us to be stressed and even to respond poorly, but even in these cases, we’re still required to rise above it and respond well. And if the dynamic in the relationship is such that we feel we cannot — it’s triggering or unreasonable for some reason — boundaries are continually disrespected — our response then is the challenge to change the dynamic.
Ultimately, we’re responsible and inevitably accountable for our responses, and if our responses are ever triggered or reflex or spontaneous reactions, we’re responsible and inevitably accountable for the reparations required — if we’re committed to healthy and appropriate relationship outcomes. These are simply the standards we hold others to, so they apply to us too.
But our responses are all we’re responsible and inevitably accountable for. We can never be responsible and inevitably accountable for others’ responses. We cannot control how others respond. That is their domain.
Others can never appropriately blame us for their own responses, just as we cannot ever blame another person, like “You made me respond this way!”The implementation of a boundary, on the other hand, is not an inappropriate or irresponsible response. But the opposite situation, like “You made me angry, and I will punish you” is gaslighting.
“Cool” responses are not necessarily responsible responses, however. Sociopaths are the “coolest” people alive.No. The standards we’re to attain to are those that are fair for others. This is what we’re responsible and inevitably accountable to provide.
As humility is our guide, all we can control is our response, and once accepted, it’s enough.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework