by Neil Anderson
You were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another
Nothing will distort relationships faster than emphasizing our rights over our responsibilities. For example, a husband may chip at his wife because he feels he has a right to expect her to be submissive. A wife may nag her husband because she expects him to be the spiritual leader. Parents harass their children because they feel it’s their right to demand obedience. Members are offended in the local church when they think their rights have been violated by pastors, boards or other members.
Any time people insist on their rights at the expense of failing to assume their responsibilities, they are going down to defeat. For example, a pregnant woman may demand her right for an abortion. She says it is her body and she can do whatever she wants with it. Then she proceeds to demonstrate her irresponsible use of her body to everyone! We don’t have an abortion problem; we have an irresponsible sex problem.
In God’s system, our focus is to be fulfilling our responsibilities, not insisting on our rights. Husband, having a submissive wife is not your right; but being a loving, caring husband is your responsibility. Headship is not a right to be demanded but an awesome responsiblity to be fulfilled.
Similarly, wives, having a spiritual husband is not your right; but being a submissive, supportive wife is your responsibility. Parents, raising obedient children is not your right; but disciplining your children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord is your responsibility. Being a member of the Body of Christ and of a local church is an incredible privilege, not a right. This privilege comes with the awesome responsibility to behave as God’s children and become a lover of people. When we stand before Christ, He will not ask us if we received everything we had coming to us. But He will reward us for how well we fulfilled our responsibilities.
Prayer: Lord, help me relinquish my rights and focus on my responsibilities in all my relationships today.