Who Is Responsible For What?

When the opportunity presents itself to help another Christian, I continuously remind myself that God is omnipresent. I personally acknowledge God’s presence and declare my dependency upon Him. My approach to ministry is misdirected from the beginning if I believe that the only players present are myself and the other person. God is always present and there is a role that only He can play in my life and the one I am trying to help.

Think of a triangle with God at the top. The two bottom corners represent the encourager and the inquirer. Each side of the triangle represents a relationship. The most important relationship is the one we have with God, but there is also a very important relationship between the encourager and the inquirer. Now ask two critical questions. First, what are we actually trying to accomplish? Since God has given us the message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18), the goal is to help the inquirer become fully reconciled to God. To accomplish that, we need to help them remove the barriers to their intimacy with their heavenly Father through genuine repentance and faith in God. The whole world and all human inhabitants are dysfunctional because of the fall and God has only one answer and that is restore us back to a righteous relationship with Himself.

Second, keeping in mind the triangle and the three players, who is responsible for what? Have you ever tried to play the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of your spouse? Did that work? How effective do you think we will be in ministry if we unwittingly usurp God’s role in another person’s life? Have you ever tried to assume the responsibility of another person? Did that work? How well are you doing if you haven’t assumed your own responsibility?

We can solve a lot of problems in our families, churches, and communities if we properly answer the question: Who is responsible for what? Nobody’s triangle is perfectly equilateral, because we are all slightly out of balance. If you expect too much from others, you will be disappointed. If you try to assume the responsibility of another, you will become a rescuer, or enabler or a co-dependent. If you leave God out, you may help someone cope for a short duration, but apart from Christ you can do nothing that will last for eternity (Jn. 15:5). God is the only player in Discipleship Counseling that perfectly assumes His responsibility. We need to learn ours and help others assume their responsibilities.

Dr. Neil

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