Last Saturday, during my week in review, I mentioned I came up with an original phrase that I am now claiming as my own. I’ve never read it anywhere but I was having a conversation with someone and there it was escaping my lips and I thought, “Wow. I really like this.”
The more I thought about it, the more I thought, I have got to write a post about it. If you want to use this phrase just ask me first.
Here’s the phrase I’m so excited about: “Guilt-free zone.”
Now let me give you some background and explain why I think God prompted this phrase to pop into my head.
I find guilt to be my constant companion, not because I actually do much of anything to feel guilty about but just because that’s who I am. I can feel guilty for no reason whatsoever. I can feel guilty for things other people do. I can feel guilty if someone else acts like a jerk.
I’ve alway been like this. As a child, I always felt guilty for the things that were happening around me.
And there was a lot happening.
I carried that guilt into adulthood very successfully. I’ve pretty much got it conquered except in a couple of circumstances.
So last week, when we were at the cabin, I thought, “You know what? I need to enjoy my time here with my husband. Actually, it’s God’s plan as well that I enjoy my time with my husband. He comes first.
I need to close off my mind when I’m here. I need a guilt-free zone.”
So how does one develop a “guilt-free zone”?
I think there is only one way. And that is to have a clear conscience. That is where we begin. Now the question becomes, “How do we get a clear conscience”?
Here’s how I’m doing it.
I look at each situation carefully and ask some questions.
The first two are fairly easy. We all know what we’re responsible for, don’t we? I mean, really? (Actually, as I write this, I can think of people who seem to take little responsibility for their actions. Sadly, there are plenty of irresponsible people in this world. So I guess these questions are not for those people.)
Moving on, the first question I ask myself is:
Do I bear any responsibility in this situation?
Wouldn’t you agree we are all responsible for our own words, attitudes, and actions? Whether we admit it or not, this is unequivocally true. So anything I say, anything I feel, and anything I do, are on me. I don’t generally have any problems here. I grew up “responsible”. Too much so, remember?
But I am not responsible for other’s words, attitudes, and actions. Whether they care to admit it or not, this is also unequivocally true. So anything they say, they feel, and they do are on them.
So if we can know we have no responsibility in an area, we can let that go. If it’s a problem someone else has that is impeding on us, we can decide to not let it impact us negatively.
If I do bear responsibility, have I carried out that responsibility?
But sometimes we do bear some responsibility to another person. Parents have an inherent responsibility for their young children. Adult children often have responsibilities to older parents. Young children might have a responsibility for caring for their pets. Sometimes we have a responsibility to a friend going through a difficult time. Spouses have responsibilities at times to their mate due to illness or other issues.
When I wrote the previous paragraph I originally used the word “for” instead of “to”. But when I thought about it some more, I changed it in a couple of circumstances because adults are seldom responsible “for” another adult.
To summarize this would be to say that there are times in our lives when our responsibility for others goes beyond responsibility and is actually more of a case of mercy. Christians are required to be merciful when the occasion calls for it. Would you agree with the following statement?
Mercy may often be an extension of responsibility.
I will share the last question with you tomorrow.
God bless and have a good day.