Responsibility and Control in Relationship

There is one key determinant in gauging mental, emotional, and spiritual health:

To what extent does a person have the capability to take their responsibility versus their propensity to control others.

Those who receive counsel well take their responsibility.

Those who receive counsel poorly are those who tend to blame-shift and try to control others.

Couples who take their personal responsibility individually enjoy progress.

Couples where even one individual who insists upon staying in conflict mode do not progress.

But this article extends well beyond couples.

It extends to the farthest reaches of all our relationships, with others, with God, even with ourselves.

If people experience us as controlling we’re not only untrustworthy, we’re also unsafe, and not a pleasure to be around.

Let’s remember God made us for relationship, which has its aim in being a pleasure to be around (not that we’re ever expected to achieve that all the time). If people experience us as taking our responsibility, they’re free to enjoy relating with us as a person who is a pleasure to know, because we’re safe to be around. To be a blessing is always our aim.

Two pivotal questions remain:

  1. How can I be less controlling?

Needing to have control indicates we’re controlled by fear, which is driven by insecurity.

Because we all have the proclivity to be insecure, we do need to take responsibility for the possibility we can be controlling. The sheer awareness of being insecure helps us regulate the need to control situations and others. This is done simply in owning responsibility for such awareness. We see our controlling things as wrong and we repent of such attitudes and behaviours. This is actually one very effective way of taking responsibility.

  1. How can I take more of my own responsibility?

For many who honestly struggle with needing to have control, this is a hard question. But wherever there is the endeavour to live a more God-pleasing life there is the capacity to achieve the goal. Living responsibly is the way to live a God-pleasing life, because it’s the life of faith – of trusting God to the extent of loving others.

Whenever we live responsibly we’re less of a burden and more of a blessing to others. It would misrepresent the truth to say this trend is absolute, but it’s a reliable guide.

We take more responsibility when we hold ourselves to short account, particularly when we use the prayer from Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” What this prayer is truly beseeching God about is clear. God already knows our heart; He knows our thoughts. The prayer is asking God to make it clear to us what He already knows. It could be as follows:

Lord, You know my heart, please show me.

I submit to Your testing of my attitude;

show me the truth of my thoughts.

Reveal any sign of wickedness

(about this situation or other)

And continue to lead me, please. AMEN

Those who take responsibility, seek God’s awareness of truth, which requires intimacy to walk humbly with God.

  1. Some traits of the responsible:

They attend to what they can control, and they accept what they cannot control.

They’re honest before God to the extent of hearing another person out who has a complaint against them.

They’re quick to own their contribution of fault, but they don’t enable others’ irresponsibility.

They own their current relationships and are happy to cut unsafe people out of their lives and don’t feel guilty about it.

They’re for the most part logical, reasonable, reliable, rational.

They take seriously the hurts of others, living at peace with everyone as far as it depends on them, especially regarding behaviours for which they, themselves, are responsible.


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