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Christian Life
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My Response is My Responsibility -- Part 3

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Oftentimes, when people hear me teach this idea that “My response is my responsibility,” they have a light bulb moment. This truth that “My response is my responsibility” has revolutionized their lives.

Let’s consider what several have said:

This Quote Changed a Businesswoman’s Life

A businesswoman told her employer that her favorite quote was: “My response is my responsibility” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. She then said, "I learned this quote a few years ago and it is applicable in almost every area of my life. Even if I can’t control the words, actions, or situations around me, I can control how I respond to them. This quote has seriously changed my life! (Monday, November 9, 2015 | Roger CPA Review)

This Idea Applies to Every Area of Life

Another commented, “'My response is my responsibility.’ It’s like a universal phrase covering a multitude of situations and relationships, don’t you agree? I see it easily applied to traffic and road-rage. I see it fitting parent/child interactions. I see it applying to rude people’s comments in grocery stores or being cut off in line.”

Pressure Releasing, Freedom Producing

A mother wrote, "We say a phrase in our house all the time (my kids could quote it for you!): My response is my responsibility. Sometimes I don’t choose what happens—I didn’t make the actions, decisions, or cause the events—but I still must live with the consequences. This is where I do have a choice. This is where my response to life is totally up to me—my responsibility . . . It is amazing what pressure is released and what freedom is experienced, when we begin to own our actions and our decisions.

No One Can Make Me Disobey God

A man who heard me teach “My response is my responsibility” in our video series wrote a blog in response to what I taught. He got it! He said, "We live in a world where nobody seems to take responsibility for their own actions. People increasingly seem to want to blame others for the way they act . . . blame their parents, their teachers, their pastors, their leaders, the boss and sometimes even their spouse for the poor decisions they have made, but ultimately we all have a choice. My response is my responsibility. How I respond . . . when I feel hurt is my responsibility. This is a mark of maturity. I can choose to do the loving thing even when I feel disrespected. Nobody can make me not do what God has called me to do. Nobody can make me treat another individual in a wrong way. That is a choice I make."

I Need to Own My Responses Then Ask God for Help with Christlikeness

Another wrote, "We will have many opportunities to respond to situations that seem unloving, unfair, unbelievable and frustrating. . . . In God’s eyes . . . what He cares about is, how we respond to what our spouse, friend, family member or co-worker has done. Our choice is how we respond. . . . For me, I am responsible for me, my actions, my response. If there is a lack of God’s love in my character and soul, I have to own up to it. . . . Jesus, as always, is the greatest example. He was treated badly. They mocked Him, spread rumors about Him, told blatant lies about Him, and hated Him. Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). If we say we have His mercy, His compassion, His forgiveness, His love and His kindness then we should show it to our spouse, friend, family member or co-worker. That our response is our responsibility may overwhelm us but Jesus did come that we may have a Helper."

Do I Want to Be Frustrated or Fulfilled?

Yet another shared, "I am the foremost to realize I react wrongly all the stinkin’ time and I hate it. But I’ve learned through our whole ordeal to repent quickly, turn from it, learn from it, and do my very best (with the grace of God alongside me) to change. The turning point for me came when I realized that regardless of what action [my wife and others] took, my response was my responsibility and that until I could digest that and make it part of my approach to life and to marriage and offense, I was going to find myself more and more frustrated and unfulfilled. I pray all of us cherish this truth and make it part of our approach to every meaningful relationship in life.”

Does This Let the Other Person Off the Hook?

A husband commented, "I’m old enough now and have experienced enough pain to realize that my response is purely my responsibility. It doesn’t mean that [my wife] doesn’t need to make adjustments as well. It doesn’t mean that [my wife] is perfect and always responds the right way either. It doesn’t mean that [my wife] doesn’t have things she needs to work on too. But at the end of the day, friends, our response is our responsibility . . .”

We Still Confront Others but with a Responsible Response

We still need to deal with other people’s sinful reactions, but we do so responsibly.

A woman wrote, "If you are a Christian, think hard about the applications of this statement in your life: 'My response is my responsibility.'” She then illustrated this with her husband. "I love my husband. He's a pretty awesome guy. A few weeks ago [my husband] told me about a situation at work where someone got in his face about a work-related issue and forcefully said un-respectful and un-appreciated things to [my husband]. Obviously, something else was currently going on in the man's heart and he just needed to vent and [my husband] was there. [My husband] could have fiercely negated everything said, put the responsibility of the situation back on the man involved and turned heel. He said everything in him wanted to. He had a right to yell back. He had an understandable right to make the dude look bad. Instead he simply and calmly said, 'I have never spoken to you in a disrespectful manner. I have always treated you professionally and with respect, and I ask that you do the same with me.' The guy threw up his hands and walked away. Where [my husband] works they see that he is a Christian. I read a great quote yesterday that 'out of one hundred people, one person will read the Bible, but ninety-nine will read the Christian.’"

Now that is a challenge for all of us!

-Dr. E

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. Do you agree with those who wrote in saying that “My response is my responsibility” is applicable in every area of life? What areas in your life do you see it most applicable today?
  2. Someone wrote, “Nobody can make me not do what God has called me to do.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain.
  3. “If we say we have His mercy, His compassion, His forgiveness, His love and His kindness then we should show it to our spouse, friend, family member or co-worker.” What are your thoughts on this gut-punching statement?
  4. In the final story told about the man who chose to respond with love to his coworker, who responded by throwing up his hands and walking away, what do you imagine may have been going through the coworker’s mind at the man’s response?