Weekly Thought – February 28, 2023
Fred clearly differentiated between rights and responsibilities. He saw asserted rights taking people apart while his visual for responsibilities was lamination which pulled pieces together into one, making it stronger. He viewed operating from “it’s my right” position a sign of immaturity. Maturity and strong character lived with a sense of responsibility.
Rights versus Responsibilities
As a leader I have the responsibility for certain tasks and I must take an active role for execution. In fact, sometimes I will take the same action for results from a responsibility position as could be taken as a matter of rights. What is the difference? Motive and maturity. Responsibility has a selfless tone to it while rights carry a selfishness. This shows up in the attitude.
For example, the players in the huddle may be a scene of discussion – even disagreement- but when it comes to the call the quarterback makes the decision. Why? Because it is his responsibility, not because it is his right to do so.
We hear a lot about human rights. This was not the great gift of America it was a matter of human responsibilities. Often we speak about the success of the “American experiment” because it provided freedom. I don’t think so. I am convinced it was the first time in human history that freedom and a sense of responsibility came together simultaneously. Freedom was the environment and responsibility was the operational attitude. That is what gave us our enormous productivity.
The belief that God gave everyone a talent and one day we would account for its use was foundational.
These two concepts will always be in tension, but responsibility should be the primary motivator while rights take the secondary place. When I look at my responses to situations I find that generally I am more concerned about my rights when I feel that someone is taking advantage of it – when someone’s playing me for a sucker. That is unpleasant (to say the least) for me. In those situations I have a responsibility to behave maturely, but exercise my responsibility to not be played. Mahatma Gandhi was not exercising his rights as much as he was emphasizing his responsibility to create a society built on righteousness.
Motive, again, is the key. Generally, rights are about getting; responsibilities about giving.
This week think about: 1) When do I operate from rights rather than responsibilities? 2) How can I measure my attitude in tense situations? 3) What standards am I using to assess my maturity?
Words of Wisdom: “I am convinced it was the first time in human history that freedom and a sense of responsibility came together simultaneously. Freedom was the environment and responsibility was the operational attitude.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Aaron and his sons will go in and appoint each man to his service and his responsibility. (Numbers 4:19 NET Bible)