Authentic Responsibilities #2: I am not obligated to answer to a human being for why I do what I do (to justify my behaviors). That type of self-disclosure is a gift.
I had lost my real job a few months earlier and was in the midst of Step Four—the most difficult step of the Celebrate Recovery step study program. My part-time job had ended when the elderly gentleman I was helping moved into assisted living. So when the pastor from my church ministry called and removed me from my volunteer position in the ministry, I did what any reasonable person would do—I fled to the desert. I left without telling anyone I was leaving or where I was going. My own family didn’t even know I was gone until I called to let them know I had arrived. And I didn’t tell most of my friends why—just that I was going away.
One of my friends took exception to my leaving. I had been very close to her, but during this journey through CR, I had pulled away from many of my friends to focus on my recovery. This particular friend expressed her feelings that it was unacceptable to her that I left in such dramatic fashion and implied that I owed her and others an explanation. It was during this clash that I realized authentic responsibility #2: I am not obligated to justify my behaviors to any human being, but when I do, it is a gift of trust, love, and friendship.
Even though we are not obligated to answer to others, here are two things to remember about justifying your behaviors and the gift of self-disclosure:
- You don’t have to answer to humans, but you DO have to answer to God. Notice that it says you don’t have to justify your behaviors to “a human being.” I didn’t answer to my friend, but I certainly talked things over with God—which is something that we all will have to do. Luke 8:17 says, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” The Lord knows our hidden motives, our desires, and why we do what we do—and in the end, whether we like or not, we will ALL give an account of the things we have done (Romans 14:12, Matthew 12:36, 2 Corinthians 5:10). So even if you are not justifying yourself to others, seek the Lord and His will about your actions through prayer. You will have to answer to Him eventually!
- Give the gift of self-disclosure to someone. I didn’t choose to give the gift of self-disclosure to my one friend, but I did give it to my sponsor and my accountability partner. I disclosed to them fully the pain I was feeling, the reason I was leaving, and what I felt I needed to do to get through that time. The Bible instructs us to “Confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so that we may be healed” (James 5:16). The key words: so that we may be healed. There is healing in disclosing our pain, hurt, hang-ups, and bad habits to others. Accountability is key in authentic responsibilities: life is not meant to live alone, but in community with others. So give that gift of self-disclosure to someone you trust and love who can hold you accountable (Proverbs 27:17, Galatians 6:1-2).
You may not owe anyone an explanation, but you will be giving one someday! So why not begin today by answering to God and someone else? And as you continue in this responsibility, may you find yourself giving this precious gift to others as you grow in God’s grace and love.
What are some reasons why we feel obligated to justify our actions to others? Share in the comments!