Our biggest sale! 50% off your PLUS subscription. Use code SUMMER

5 Ways I Learned to Take Responsibility for My Actions

Published Apr 19, 2024
5 Ways I Learned to Take Responsibility for My Actions

When we practice humility, stop blaming others, rid ourselves of jealousy and envy, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us, we can take responsibility for our actions and do the hard work necessary to reconcile the broken relationships in our lives.

No matter how godly I try to act, conflict always arises. As humans, we make mistakes, and we often let our pride stand in the way of our relationships. Not only does pride play a role in conflict, but it also plays a role in reconciliation.

When both parties blame the other and don't see their own part in the conflict, reconciliation cannot be achieved. Jesus wants us to be in right relationship with each other.

In Matthew 5:23-24, we are told to not even take communion if we have something against our brother or sister in Christ: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

We are instructed to drop our offering and go reconcile with a fellow believer first and then take the offering. This is important because it's difficult to worship God when we're in conflict with others. Jesus died so we would have reconciliation with both ourselves with God and with others.

The church is the place that mirrors Christ the most. If we can't get relationships right in the church, how else will we get relationships right anywhere else? Jesus died so we could have rich, healthy relationships here on earth as well as in heaven. But conflict often gets in the way of that.

One of the best antidotes to conflict is to take responsibility for our actions. Whatever role we have played in the conflict (no matter how small,) when we take responsibility for our actions and not blame the other, we are one step closer to achieving the reconciliation that Jesus wants from us. Here are five ways I learned to take responsibility for my actions:&

1. I Heard from the Lord

Sometimes we know the part we played in the conflict. However, there are times when we are so blind to our own sin, we can't see the role we played in it. Nathan the prophet took a great risk by telling David he was in sin for his involvement with Bathsheba’s.

It was Nathan's boldness that caused David to look introspectively and turn back to the Lord. When we take the time to listen for the Holy Spirit and allow him to convict our souls, we can become more aware of the role we played in conflict.

Sometimes it is sin related, and sometimes it's of no fault of our own. Even if we are not to blame for the actual conflict, we may be to blame for our reaction to it. Our reaction to conflict is just as important as the actual conflict itself.

If we don't exhibit self-control, patience, or goodness in times of trial, it can be just as detrimental as the conflict itself. It is important to listen to the Holy Spirit, not to filter what the Spirit says and be obedient to reconcile to the person whom you've hurt.

Although reconciliation is not achievable in every situation, we must make our best efforts, once we hear from the Holy Spirit, to reconcile and take our part to blame in the conflict.

2. I Stopped the Blame Game

Blame is the antithesis of reconciliation. However, blame is not foreign to us. This blame has happened since the beginning of time. Adam blamed Eve for then both eating the apple: And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” If Adam had taken responsibility for not speaking the truth God had told him to the enemy, our stories might be different.

Yet, because he blamed Eve for her deception, the fall of man resulted. Our relationships fail because we blame others for the conflict. While they may have a part to play, more than likely, so do we.

When we recognize we are not perfect in that situation, when I'm willing to stop playing the blame game, we can reconcile the relationships in our lives.

3. I Practiced Humility

 As stated earlier, pride plays a huge role in conflict. Both parties become prideful and want their way, so it leads to their own desired outcomes. However, relationships require give and take.

We need to sacrifice on behalf of the other when necessary. If conflict results, it's important to drop our pride and practice humility.

Humility acknowledges our selfish behaviors. When we humble ourselves, we can see a situation for what it truly is. Pride often blinds us to the actual conflicts. Some relationships crumble because neither side will be humble.

Yet, the conflict that divides their relationship is so trivial. By simply practicing humility, reconciliation can be achieved.

4. I Wanted to Be in Right Relationship

People in conflict need to ask themselves, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be the right relationship?” Sometimes we’re in conflict with the person who stands in the way of our blocked goal. Sometimes, it feels good in the short term to be right in that situation.

However, being right doesn't always lead to healthy relationships. Sometimes, we must admit defeat or being wrong so that we can preserve a precious relationship. This is especially true in marriages or situations where children are involved.

For example, a blended family may endure their share of conflicts. However, when one part of the family would rather be perceived as the perfect parent and degrade the stepparent, the children suffer.

In their need to be right, they fail to achieve peace for the sake of the children. Being right might feel good in the short term, but it may wreak havoc on our relationships in the future.

5. I Broke Up with Jealousy

Often, our need to be right and our lack of humility stems from jealousy or envy. When we engage in close relationships, we begin to get to know people more intimately. It is here that jealousy or envy may result.

Sometimes we compare ourselves to a person that we highly admire and secretly want their life. When we do this, we often covet possessions, relationships, or other things with which the Lord has blessed others.

Jealousy and envy have no place in a healthy relationship. I’m able to take responsibility for my actions when I rid myself of jealousy and envy.

Relationships are hard. Relationships take work, sacrifice, and commitment to the other. Perseverance is key in having good healthy relationships.

However, when conflict arises, it is easy to want to cut off that relationship because we don't want to do the hard work of humility and allow God to use that conflict to do this work in our souls.

When we practice humility, stop blaming others, rid ourselves of jealousy and envy, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us, we can take responsibility for our actions and do the hard work necessary to reconcile the broken relationships in our lives.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Motoki Tonn

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.